U.S. Poverty Weekly Update March 27, 2012

How very kind: To protect poor Americans from being demeaned, Ryan is cutting their anti-poverty programs and using the proceeds to give the wealthiest Americans a six-figure tax cut.

— Dana Milbank, columnist for the Washington Post in his March 20 op-ed "Paul Ryan, Helping the Poor by Hurting Them"

New and Urgent in This Weeks Update (2-10-20 Actions)

Each week, we highlight specific actions you can take based on how much time you have available. We call them our 2-10-20 Actions (if you have two minutes, ten minutes or twenty minutes available). Click on the links below for details about each action.

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Call Senators Urging Them to Sign on to the Casey-Snowe “Dear Colleague” Letter (March Action)

Building on the success of the House Kildee-Platts "Dear Colleague" letter in support of Head Start and child care funding which garnered 88 signatures this week, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) are now circulating a bipartisan Senate letter in support of Head Start and child care assistance. The Casey-Snowe letter urges Senate appropriators to support "robust" funding for Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) in FY 2013. By getting as many signatures as possible on the letter, we can send a strong message to Senate leaders that early childhood investments must be a priority in next year's budget, just as we did with the House letter. The deadline for signatures is TOMORROW, March 28.

The current list of signers is Sens. Casey (D-PA), Snowe (R-ME), Franken (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Reed (D-RI), Whitehouse (D-RI), Leahy (D-VT), Blumenthal (D-CT), Bingaman(D-NM), and Schumer (D-NY).

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call your Senate offices TODAY and tell the receptionist to urge your senators to sign onto the Casey-Snowe early childhood letter. You can find contact information and staff names on our Elected Officials page or call the Capitol switchboard at: (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected with your Senate offices. Once connected with the early childhood aide, please say:

My name is ________________ and I am a constituent of Sen. ___________________ from ___________________. I am also a RESULTS volunteer. I believe very strongly in early childhood programs like Head Start and child care assistance. Sen. Casey of Pennsylvania and Sen. Snowe of Maine are circulating a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter urging Senate appropriators to allocate funding necessary to protect these services in the FY 2013. As a constituent, I would like to see Sen. ________________ sign on to the letter in support of these funding levels. The deadline to sign on is tomorrow, March 28. Will you please ask Sen. _____________________ to sign on?

Specifically, tell your Senators to contact Deirdre Fruh ([email protected]) in Senator Casey’s office to sign their names to the Senate Dear Colleague letter. You can read more about the letter and this action in our March 2012 U.S. Poverty Action.


Call and Talk to Your Senate Early Childhood Aides about Early Childhood Funding and Casey-Snowe Letter (March Action)

In order to build the momentum for protecting Head Start and child care funding in the FY 2013 budget, we need to talk to our early childhood aides on Capitol Hill in addition to leaving messages with the receptionist (above). These aides are absolutely key in helping us generate the support we need from lawmakers. These aides are the gatekeepers — they inform and advise members of Congress on the issues and can be powerful advocates for one side or the other. In this case, having a conversation with the early childhood aide will help us create allies on Capitol Hill who will help us move our message forward.

Coordinate with groups in your state to have one person call and speak to the early childhood aide about the Casey-Snowe letter and the importance of investing in early childhood programs. Use our sample conversation with an aide that was highlighted on this month’s RESULTS national conference call to help with your conversations. In addition, tell them that you are proud to live in a country like the United States that puts it its children first and shows it by investing in programs like Head Start and child care assistance. These investments help create a better future for at-risk children and their families.

The current list of signers is Sens. Casey (D-PA), Snowe (R-ME), Franken (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Reed (D-RI), Whitehouse (D-RI), Leahy (D-VT), Blumenthal (D-CT), Bingaman(D-NM), and Schumer (D-NY).

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to call your senate early childhood aides about investing in Head Start and child care assistance. Ask them to urge your senators to sign onto the Casey-Snowe “Dear Colleague” letter. Use our updated March Action sheet to help with your calls as well as our sample conversation with an aide. Also urge them to weigh in with appropriators about the importance of Head Start and child care and to fund them at these levels in the FY 2013 budget:

  • Increase funding for Head Start and Early Head Start by $325 million over the FY 2012 levels. This allows for a more substantial cost of living increase that reflects costs of keeping qualified staff.
  • Increase funding for CCDBG by $825 million over FY 2012 levels. This will help make up some ground lost last year when some of the CCDBG slots created in 2009 and 2010 were cut.

You can find the names of early childhood aides as well as contact information on our Elected Officials page. Senate offices can contact Deirdre Fruh ([email protected]) in Senator Casey’s office to sign their names to the letter.


Friends & Family Fundraising: Let’s Finish What We Started

We're just a few days away from the official end of the Friends & Family Fundraising Campaign. Thank you for all your hard work that is paying off for people in poverty!

The official end of the campaign is Saturday, March 31, so make sure to send out your last email and social media blasts to your donors and networks to let them know. That is also the day that we will calculate the winners of the online fundraising contest. Donations made by credit card online by 11:59 PM EST on March 31 will count towards one top earning team and one top earning individual receiving a free registration to the 2012 RESULTS International Conference. Margaret Smith, Phyllis Behlen, Janis Medley and Sandra Eagle are the individuals to watch in this race. Dallas, Coastal Connecticut and Kitsap County are the teams in the lead. We'll announce the winners on Thursday, April 5.

After we complete the donation processing, every group will receive a report of their donors who donated online or by check for this campaign. Any checks you send to us in properly labeled donor envelopes will be credited to your group. Thank you to all our participants for getting our fundraising year off to a terrific start!

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to complete your outreach to donors and follow-up calls. We will hold the fundraising websites open until April 30 to make sure to catch any late donors. Of course, donations made at any time of the year are welcome and you can always direct donors to use the donation portion of our RESULTS homepage after April.


Tell Lawmakers that the House Republican Budget is Wrong for America

Last week, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) released the House Republican Budget for FY 2013. Having a week to digest all the implications of this budget plan has not made it any more palatable. Quite frankly, this budget would be a disaster for America, and in particular low-income families. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has a new report showing that of the $5.3 trillion dollars the House Republican Budget cuts in non-defense spending (this budget actually increases defense spending), 62 percent of those cuts would come from programs that serve low-income households. For example, this plan would (over ten years):

  • Cut Medicaid and CHIP by $810 billion and covert it into a block grant to states. This would result in massive cuts to services and enrollment.
  • Repeal Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, which would leave 17 million people without health coverage (the plan repeals the entire ACA).
  • Cut SNAP aka food stamps by $134 billion and covert it into a block grant to states. This would result in large cuts to services and enrollment. SNAP lifted 4.4 million people out of poverty in 2010.
  • Cut income support programs, e.g. the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. The two programs lifted 9.3 million people out of poverty in 2010. Note that the budget does not specifically name these programs, only “low-income support”
  • Cut $291 billion from non-defense domestic discretionary programs. These cuts are on top of the cuts already mandated by the Budget Control Act passed last summer. The budget specifically targets Pell Grants and job training programs but this proposal would almost surely include cuts to Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant.

To add insult to injury, the House Republican Budget would use most the savings from these cuts to enact $4.3 trillion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and corporations. As CBPP President Bob Greenstein put it, “In essence, this budget is Robin Hood in reverse — on steroids. It would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times (and possibly in the nation’s history).” This budget is not just radical, it is cruel. And it is wrong for America.

TAKE ACTION: The House is expected to vote on the budget sometime this week. Send a letter to the editor to your local newspaper urging lawmakers to reject the House Republican Budget. Tell readers that it hurts children and families, worsens income inequality, and increases poverty. Use new CBPP state data on cuts to SNAP to show the impact of this budget on your state. You can use our media action alert to send your letter. Be sure to tell your members of Congress by name to oppose the budget and its radical ideas.

You can also call your representative offices urging them to oppose the House Republican Budget when it comes up for a vote. Bread for the World has a toll-free number you can use to call House offices: (800) 826-3688. See this new video from RESULTS’ Cindy Changyit Levin and her daughter showing how calling is as easy as playing Candyland.


Congressional Progressive Caucus Releases “Budget for All” As Alternative to House Republican Budget

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has released its “Budget for All” as an alternative to the House Republican Budget released last week. The two plans could not be more different. Here are some of the highlights of the Budget for All:

  • Invests in job creation measures like improvements to schools, upgrading infrastructure, and investing in clean energy initiatives
  • Ends the Bush tax cuts for the top two percent income earners and closes tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and big corporations; also creates the “Buffett Rule” tax for people earning over $1 million
  • Supports working families by extending ARRA improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Expands health care by Authorizing the creation of a public health insurance option as an extension of health reform
  • Protects struggling Americans by properly funding SNAP, WIC, TANF and other safety net programs
  • Strengthens Social Security by phasing out the wage cap for Social Security taxes (currently income above $110,000 is not taxed for Social Security)
  • Brings troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Achieves $6.8 trillion is deficit reduction

You can read more details about the “Budget for All” on the CPC website.


Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Constitutionality of Health Reform

In the wake of last week’s two year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law yesterday. Yesterday’s oral arguments focused on whether the challengers to the law had standing to sue, i.e. could they bring suit now or would they have to wait until 2014 when the law goes into full effect. Today’s arguments will center on the constitutionality of the individual mandate requiring all Americans (with few exceptions) to have health coverage by 2018. Tomorrow’s argument will focus on the constitutionality of the Medicaid expansion, which expand eligibility for the program to all persons earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty line beginning in 2014. This expansion will help an estimated 16 million uninsured people get health coverage by 2020. A decision by the Court is expected in June.

Groups that both support and appose the ACA were outside the Supreme Court yesterday and are expected to be there again today and tomorrow. The White House is also pushing back against critics and touting the benefits the ACA has already created and will create in the coming years. An adverse ruling by the Supreme Court would have a greatly negative impact on millions of Americans.

Tell your community that health care for all is a right by sending a letter to the editor to your local paper in support of health reform. The ACA, while not perfect, is a step in the right direction. Our friends at Families USA have an online media alert you can use to send your letters.


Quick News

“RESULTS Free Agents” Groups to Launch in April! Are you a RESULTS activist working solo in a town that doesn't (yet) have a RESULTS U.S. Poverty group? We love your commitment and want to offer you a new means of support through our new RESULTS Free Agents group! This "virtual" group will meet monthly by phone for relationship-building, information, and support. Members of the group will also be encouraged to participate in the monthly national conference call. Want to check out RESULTS Free Agents (U.S. Poverty)? Join our call on Tuesday, April 17 at 9 pm ET. Dial in at (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587 (RESULTS). For more information about the U.S. poverty group, contact Jos Linn at [email protected]. We will also have a group supporting global poverty activists; for more information on that group, contact Lisa Marchal at [email protected].

Request Face-to-Face Meetings for April Recess. Both the House and Senate will be on recess again the first two weeks of April. Follow up on your face-to-face meeting requests in February by contacting congressional schedulers to see if you can meet with your representatives while they’re home. You can find schedulers’ names and contact info on our Elected Officials page. The February Action has tips on scheduling a meeting, as well as talking points for each of our major issues. In your meetings, be sure to our one-page “leave behinds” covering low-income tax credits, the Saver’s Bonus, and Head Start and child care. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you and your group prepare for your meeting(s).


RESULTS International Conference

The 2012 RESULTS International Conference is getting more exciting by the day. We already have a few big-named speakers lined up that you won’t want to miss. First, spiritual author and lecturer Marianne Williamson will be leading a one-day seminar as part of the conference. The seminar is entitled: Creating a Politics of Love: Turning Compassion into a Political Force. This will be great training and preparation for other conference highlights.

We are also pleased to announce that Dr. Myron Cohen will also be speaking at this year's conference! Dr. Cohen leads the research team that announced last year that AIDS treatment is prevention, which was named by the journal Science as the breakthrough of 2011. This discovery will be a main topic of this year's International AIDS Society Conference and so we are thrilled that Dr. Cohen will be speaking directly to RESULTS!

You can read more about our exciting workshops and plenaries for the conference on the RESULTS website. And continue to check back, as this agenda will be continuously updated as we confirm more fantastic speakers.

But remember — you can’t attend these great sessions unless you come. So register for the conference TODAY! Now is the best time to do so. There are only three weeks left before the Early Bird Registration fee ends. Until April 16, you can register for the RESULTS International Conference for only $150. Don’t miss out — register now!


Announcements

Urge Folks in Montana to Join RESULTS Call TONIGHT. We are working to start new groups in various areas around the country. We are holding an informational conference call for people in Missoula, MT in the hopes of getting a new RESULTS group started. The call is tonight, March 27 at 8:00 pm MT, (218) 486-1611, passcode 2883622#. If you know anyone in Montana, please urge them to join the call. Also, if you have leads in other areas of the country, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

RESULTS is Hiring to Help with Expansion. RESULTS is working to start new activist groups in New England. To help us with this work, RESULTS is looking to hire a part-time organizer. This person will be responsible for generating and working with leads in New England to start at least two new RESULTS U.S. Poverty groups by the end of the year. A job description is listed on the RESULTS website. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for this position, please send a cover letter, resume, and short writing sample to Jos Linn at [email protected].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House recess, March 30-April 15. Senate recess, April 2-13. Request face-to-face meetings!

Tuesday, March 27: RESULTS Montana Informational Call, 8:00 pm MT. (218) 486-1611, passcode 2883622#.

Wednesday, April 4: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

Saturday, April 14: Joint RESULTS U.S. and Global Poverty National Conference Call, 2:00 pm ET. Note the different time. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Start planning today to attend our 2012 conference!


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 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 Domestic Update is sent out every Tuesday over 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 domestic campaigns.