U.S. Poverty Weekly Update March 12, 2013

It is imperative that members of Congress know that Americans reject the idea of balancing the budget on the backs of America’s most vulnerable.

— RESULTS Santa Fe volunteer Marion Seymour in a March 10 letter to the editor in the Santa Fe New Mexican
(one of 14 letters published by RESULTS U.S. Poverty volunteers since Feb 1)

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)

Latest from Washington, D.C.

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Spread the Word — Tell your Online Networks to Take Action to Protect SNAP

As highlighted on the RESULTS National Conference Call last Saturday, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is under attack once again. Both the Senate and House have introduced proposals that would severely undermine the vital safety net program. We must remind Congress that balancing the budget on the backs of hungry families and children is unacceptable. Our March Action focuses on writing letters to Congress about protecting SNAP (see more below). Let’s generate as much noise as we can by enlisting your local action networks and Facebook friends to take action too. The more voices our elected leaders hear, the more they will listen.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send a message to your online networks urging them to take action to protect SNAP. Paste the paragraph below into an e-mail and your Facebook pages urging them to take our online SNAP e-mail action:

By proposing cuts to SNAP (formerly food stamps), Congress is once again targeting hungry children and families in federal budget talks. These cuts would force millions of low-income Americans off SNAP, causing hunger and poverty in America to surge upward. Join me in telling Congress TODAY to protect hungry families by rejecting cuts to SNAP! http://tinyurl.com/RES-SNAPAction.

If you are somewhat Facebook savvy, be sure to "tag" RESULTS by “Liking” us at https://www.facebook.com/RESULTSEdFund and typing @RESULTS as you post your message on Facebook.


Got Ten Minutes? Use NPP Resources to Tell Congress to Protect SNAP (March Action)

RESULTS very much appreciates Jo Comerford of the National Priorities Project (NPP) for being our guest speaker on Saturday’s national conference call. Jo provided a detailed and easy-to-understand overview of the current budget process in Congress and where threats to anti-poverty programs are likely to take place. In addition, she gave us an overview of the wonderful resources NPP has available for advocates like you. As Jo said on the call “Folks at NPP have the highest respect for RESULTS. It’s our privilege to crunch some numbers, but the numbers wouldn’t mean anything unless they were used by good and smart people across the country.”

NPP has a wealth of resources just a point and click away, including overviews of the federal budget and interactive data on how budget choices impact states and local communities. The latter is particularly helpful. Some of the resources NPP has include: a tax chart, which helps you see how your taxes are being spent by the federal government; a tool to help you “build a better budget” yourself; and budget trade-offs, which help you contrast various budget priorities. This last resource is particularly helpful because polls show that people respond more favorably when they can see competing priorities. NPP provides this information not only at the national level, but state, local, and congressional district level. As you write your letters this month urging Congress to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in budget negotiations, be sure to visit NPP’s site and use this data in your letters for more impact.

TAKE ACTION: Take 10 minutes to take the March Action. Write letters to your representative and both senators urging them to protect SNAP. Congress must not use critical food assistance as an ATM to finance deficit reduction. A budget that increases hunger and poverty is a budget not worth supporting. Visit NPP at www.nationalpriorities.org to find state and local data to help with your letters. In addition, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has state fact sheets for SNAP you can use. Review our SNAP Laser Talk highlighted on Saturday’s call for to get you started.

Once again, we thank Jo Comerford for being our conference call guest speaker and are grateful to her and her colleagues at NPP for the invaluable research and data they provide. Hear all the information Jo gave us, as well as updates on RESULTS legislative and grassroots work, by listening to the recording of Saturday’s conference call. You can also download our conference call slide presentation.


Got Twenty Minutes? Set Up Face-to-Face Meetings for the Upcoming Recess

Both the House and Senate are releasing their FY 2014 budget plans this week (see details below). These proposals will spark a great deal of debate in Washington and around the country. The timing of these budget proposals (along with sequestration, now in its second week) make this upcoming recess very important. Regardless of whether Congress agrees on one final budget blueprint (not likely), these proposals will shape how each chamber proceeds for the next several months. It is therefore imperative that you let Congress know what you think of their budgets.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to contact your House and Senate schedulers to set up face-to-face meetings during the March recess (March 25 – April 5). It is essential they hear from you remind them that balancing the budget on the backs of low-income Americans is unacceptable. The January Action has information to help with your meeting requests and the January 2013 Laser Talk provides a sample follow-up call with a scheduler.

If you cannot schedule a meeting, ask if your members of Congress will be holding town hall meetings during the recess. If so, see our Activist Toolkit on how to prepare for these meetings and plan to go.

Once you get a meeting scheduled or plan to attend a town hall, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff to help you prepare. Plan to take copies of our 2013 Lobby Request sheets to your meetings: Preserving Tax credits for Working Families, Protecting Nutrition Programs, Investing in Head Start and Child Care. NOTE: Wait to print these off right before your meeting in case they get updated.


House and Senate Budgets Come Out This Week — Use the Media to Push Back Against Reckless Cuts

Today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) released the House budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2014. Unlike previous years, Rep. Ryan’s plan promises to balance the budget within ten years. Unfortunately, he does so by taking a chainsaw to anti-poverty programs. Rep. Ryan’s plan would primarily benefit the wealthy, who are less likely to be impacted by cuts to government programs while seeing their income skyrocket through huge new tax cuts. Specifically, the House plan would:

  • Convert SNAP into a block grant for states,* change eligibility requirements, limit on enrollment in the program, and institute stricter work requirements
  • Convert Medicaid into a block grant to states*
  • Repeal the Medicaid expansion and health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act
  • Convert Medicare into a voucher program in 2024
  • Cut non-defense discretionary spending even deeper that already enacted under the Budget Control Act and sequestration, thus impacting funding for Head Start and child care, while restoring $500 billion in Pentagon spending
  • Drastically cut taxes for the wealthy by creating a top tax rate of 25 percent

*For more information on why block granting SNAP and Medicaid is such a bad idea, see our RESULTS Blog Post written after the Ryan Budget was released last year.

Fortunately, the House plan is not the only plan out there. Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) plans to unveil her FY 2014 budget later this week. Her plan would mix new revenue with targeted budget cuts, providing a more balanced approach to deficit reduction. It would raise about $1 trillion mainly through closing tax loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy and big corporations. It would cut roughly the same amount in spending through reduced war spending and cuts to discretionary and health care spending. Her plan would also replace sequestration with a balance of cuts and tax increases.

If the Ryan plan were not bad enough, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) also released a bill last week that would cut SNAP by $36 billion over ten years. His bill would do this by cutting eligibility, reducing state flexibility and performance incentives, and reducing spending on nutrition education and job training, among other things. You can read more about the Roberts bill in our online bill summary.

These efforts certainly present a clear and present danger to SNAP and other important anti-poverty programs. In addition to writing letters via the March Action, build on our media success this year (14 LTEs and counting) by submitting a letter to the editor or op-ed to your local paper telling Congress to stop balancing the budget on the back of people in poverty.

TAKE ACTION: Submit a letter to the editor urging Congress to protect low-income Americans in the federal budget. Use our online letter to the editor action to send your letter, or if you prefer to write your own, the February Action sheet provides talking points, background information, and a sample letter to help you. You can find a list of media outlets in your state in our Media Guide.

Also, RESULTS will have a Media Skills Training Call, this Thursday, March 14 at 8:00 pm ET. This will be a monthly call where volunteers can share best practices and get great training on how media can play a key role in shaping public opinion and moving members of Congress to action. The group will work together to figure out how to get a steady stream of letters to the editor, op-eds, and editorials in our local papers in 2013 and beyond. They will also experiment with how we use social media to educate a wider audience on ending poverty. The call-in number is (218) 862-1300, passcode 682495. For questions or to RSVP, contact Ginnie Vogts at [email protected].


Help Us Grow RESULTS

Outreach in Maine. Last week, Jenny Martin traveled to Maine to continue our outreach in the Pine Tree State. She held several meetings with potential advocates and allies, like Food and Medicine, Maine Children’s Alliance, Manna, Inc., and Shaw House. She will be revisiting Maine in late April to hold a group start meeting in the Bangor area. If you know people in Maine, please let Jenny know at [email protected] so she can connect with them on her trip.

Group Start in Chicago. RESULTS Senior Associate Jos Linn and RESULTS Chicago volunteer Cindy Levin are working to re-start the RESULTS U.S. Poverty group in the Chicago area. Illinois plays an important role in our anti-poverty work. They will be hosting a RESULTS informational “group start” meeting in Chicago on Saturday, April 6, 10:00 am – Noon at the First United Methodist Church in Evanston (516 Church St). If you know of people in Chicago, please invite them to attend the meeting. They won’t be disappointed. Use our Facebook Event page to invite your friends to come: http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSChicagoMtg. Contact Jos at [email protected] for more information.

RESULTS Intro Call Tomorrow Night. If you know someone who would be interested in anti-poverty advocacy, please invite them to one of our monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls. These 30-minute calls are an easy, fun way to learn more about RESULTS and how to get involved. If you someone who might be interested, please invite them to the next RESULTS Intro Call on tomorrow, March 13 at 9:00 pm ET. Simply send them this link where they can register: www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

RESULTS Free Agents Call Next Tuesday. For advocates in areas with no action RESULTS U.S. Poverty group, we have a monthly support call with similar advocates called our RESULTS Free Agents. These calls allow you to celebrate recent success, review current actions, get legislative updates, and get support in your advocacy work. The next call is next Tuesday, March 19 at 9:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). Send questions and RSVPs to Jos Linn at [email protected].


Quick News

The Daily Show Highlights Importance of Head Start. Last week, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart made some poignant observations about the importance of early childhood programs such as Head Start. Commenting on President Obama’s recent call for more investments in early learning, Stewart provided key insights and responses, in his uniquely comedic way, to critics of investing more in these programs. You can watch the piece on the Comedy Central website. You can also do your part by urging Congress to end the automatic budget cuts to Head Start and child care and invest in early learning using our online e-mail action alert.

House and Senate Release CR Proposals. Among the myriad of budget issues that remain unresolved is the FY 2013 budget. FY 2013 began on October 1, 2012, however Congress has been operating under a “continuing resolution” (CR) since that time which has basically maintained funding levels from the previous year. That CR will expire in March 27. Last week, the House passed another six month CR to finish out FY 2013. The House plan would keep sequestration in place for all programs except military spending. This week, the Senate released its CR plan as well. The Senate plan would keep many of sequestration in place with a few exceptions, including $50 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and a $33.5 million increase for Head Start. It would also include increased spending for the military, as in the House bill. Most experts expect the two sides to reach agreement to avoid a government shutdown before the March 27 deadline.


Announcements

Register for the RESULTS International Conference! The RESULTS International Conference is the most inspiring and informative event of the year. This year’s conference is July 20–23 in Washington, DC. We have an exciting agenda lined up, including keynote speaker Nobel Peace Prize winner Prof. Muhammad Yunus. Register before April 15 and get our Early Bird Registration discount at only $165. It’s only good until April 15. We also have discounts available for students and a small scholarship fund for those needing financial assistance to attend. Go to our RESULTS International Conference page for more details and REGISTER TODAY!

Valerie Harper Diagnosed with Cancer. RESULTS is very sad to report that actress, long-time anti-poverty advocate, and RESULTS Board member Valerie Harper was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. We are all deeply saddened by this news. We wish Valerie and her family the very best as they face this challenging time. Take a few minutes to read RESULTS Executive Director Joanne Carter’s statement about Valerie on the RESULTS Blog, where you can also share your thoughts and well wishes.

Send in Your Group Plans. If you have not submitted a copy of your completed group plan to your Regional Coordinator or RESULTS staff person, please do so as soon as possible. Use our Group Planning Summary Form when submitting your plan.


Fundraising Update

Our annual Friends and Family letter-writing campaign is coming up April 1–30! In this campaign, we send personal requests to people close to us, sharing our passion for RESULTS asking them join in our mission by giving donations. Friends & Family Toolkits are being sent to group leaders in the mail this week. We have a goal of raising $35,000 this year with online or mailed donations. Please let your group leader know by March 22 if you will participate. Training calls to help you prepare your mailed letters or personal donation webpage begin next week. For more details, visit our Fundraising Tools page.

This is an excellent way for individuals or groups to be involved with fundraising if you don’t feel you are up to holding a fundraising event this year. We have a goal to have 75 percent of all groups to be involved with fundraising for 2013, so we hope you’ll join us in this wonderful way to share RESULTS with your network.

We have also scheduled training calls to make the Friends & Family process easy. Here is the training call schedule:

  • Wednesday, March 20: Friends & Family Letter-writing Training Call, 9:00 pm ET. (641) 715-3200, passcode 628221#.
  • Tuesday, March 26: Online Fundraising Toll Training Webinar, 9:00 pm ET. (775) 996-3560, passcode 796141. To join from your computer, copy this URL into your browser: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/18965095.
  • Thursday, March 28: Fundraising with Social Media, 1:30 pm ET. (775) 996-3560, passcode 796141. To join from your computer, copy this URL into your browser: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/18919967.
  • Saturday, March 30: Online Fundraising Toll Training Webinar 12:00 pm ET. (775) 996-3560, passcode 796141. To join from your computer, copy this URL into your browser: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/18919875.

As always, if you have any questions about the Friends & Family campaign, please contact RESULTS Grassroots Development Associate Cindy Levin at [email protected].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: March 25–April 5. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, March 13: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Thursday, March 14: RESULTS Media Skills Training Call, 8:00 pm ET. (218) 862-1300, passcode 682495. For questions or to RSVP, contact Ginnie Vogts at vmvogts[email protected].

Tuesday, March 19: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587# (RESULTS#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at 14: [email protected].

Wednesday, March 20: Friends & Family Letter-writing Training Call, 9:00 pm ET. (641) 715-3200, passcode 628221#.

Tuesday, March 26: Online Fundraising Toll Training Webinar, 9:00 pm ET. (775) 996-3560, passcode 796141. To join from your computer, copy this URL into your browser: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/18965095.

Thursday, March 28: Fundraising with Social Media, 1:30 pm ET. (775) 996-3560, passcode 796141. To join from your computer, copy this URL into your browser: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/18919967.

Saturday, March 30: Online Fundraising Toll Training Webinar 12:00 pm ET. (775) 996-3560, passcode 796141. To join from your computer, copy this URL into your browser: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/18919875.

Saturday, April 13: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Saturday, July 20 – Tuesday, July 23: 2013 RESULTS International Conference, Washington, D.C. Register today!


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20036. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via e-mail to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our U.S. poverty campaigns.