U.S. Poverty Weekly Update March 5, 2013
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
Latest from Washington, DC
Join us this Saturday, March 9, for the RESULTS National Conference Call. This month, RESULTS is focusing on writing letters to Congress about protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP faces serious threats in coming budget and Farm Bill negotiations. It will take a sustained drumbeat of actions to prevent Congress from targeting hungry children and families for needless budget cuts. We’ve heard a lot about SNAP in our previous two calls, so this month we’ll be focusing on the broader budget picture and how it will impact SNAP and other anti-poverty programs. We are pleased to have Jo Comerford from the National Priorities Project as our guest speaker, who will share some of NPP’s great resources for understanding the federal budget. We look forward to you joining us for this important call.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, March 9 at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709 and once connected to the operator, ask for the RESULTS National Conference Call. Plan to call in no later than 12:27 pm ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call.
We will have the March 2013 Conference Call Overview slides available later this week. Go to our national conference call page on the RESULTS website to download the presentation before the call.
Got Ten Minutes? Tell Congress to Protect SNAP (March Action)
Last Saturday, President Obama issued an order directing federal agencies to begin implementing “sequestration”, the $85 billion in cuts to a variety of “discretionary” programs including Head Start, Early Head Start, child care assistance, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), foreign aid and defense spending. Meanwhile, the House and Senate have begun work on their FY 2014 budget resolutions. Last year, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) proposed a budget that included severe cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), Medicaid, and discretionary spending. The House is expected to propose a similar budget this year, with cuts possibly going even deeper.
The House and Senate Budget Committees will probably take up their FY2014 budget resolution next week, with floor action to follow quickly in both chambers. It is doubtful the two chambers can reach a deal on a Budget Resolution. However, their budget proposals will help shape the later debate as Congress takes up legislation to address the debt ceiling and enact further deficit reduction. There is a risk that SNAP could be deeply cut, perhaps in multiple packages – in a broad budget deal and perhaps again in the Farm Bill later this year. That is why our work to speak up about the importance of protecting SNAP is so critical.
Anti-hunger efforts are getting a boost on Capitol Hill today, as hundreds of advocates including RESULTS’ own Jos Linn are meeting with their elected officials as part of the Food Research and Action Center and Feeding America 2013 National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference. RESULTS was featured during the conference: Meredith Dodson presented during two social media workshops and former Rep. Jim Walsh (R-NY) highlighted RESULTS work with local media as an example of effective advocacy during a lunch plenary with 800 in the audience.
TAKE ACTION: In addition to taking our February Action and continuing work to set up face-to-face lobby meetings, personalize our online alert to quickly tell Congress you want to see SNAP protected in a balanced budget deal that includes revenues and spend a few minutes reviewing our March Action Sheet.
Some commentators speculate that Congress let the sequestration deadline came and went without Congress fixing it because Americans didn’t make enough of a fuss about it. This may be true. We at RESULTS know full well that apathy is dangerous in a democracy. But we also know what to do about. When we stand up and speak out, not only can we change the course of public policy, we strengthen our democracy as well.
Meeting face-to-face with our elected officials is a vital component of standing up and speaking out. When our leaders meet us in person, they get to know us, our stories, our passions, and our beliefs. E-mail, letters, and calls are also extremely important, but they can’t convey your message like a face-to-face meeting can. As we’ve seen with sequestration, programs and services that help Americans living in poverty face serious threats this year. It’s imperative that members of Congress hear directly from you – their constituents – just how you feel about it. The House and Senate will be on recess again March 25 – April 5. If you haven’t put in your face-to-face meeting request or haven’t followed up lately on a request, please do so now. We need your voices out there making a difference.
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 – April5). 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 your members of Congress don’t have any time for a sit down meeting that week, ask if to be put on their schedule for the next time they are home. Be sure to also ask if they are holding any town hall meetings during the March recess.
Once you get a meeting scheduled, 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.
Thanks to everyone who submitted media pieces in February urging Congress to protect SNAP, Head Start, and child care in budget negotiations. To date, RESULTS volunteers got nine letters published last month and we hope to see more in the coming weeks. As mentioned above, the threat to important anti-poverty services remain real and we need to remind Congress to protect services that reduce poverty. If you haven’t submitted your letter to the editor or op-ed yet, it’s not too late. If you did and it was not published, send in another letter or submit your letter to another paper. Let’s keep the pressure on Congress to do the right thing.
To make your letters local, don’t forget the SNAP State Fact Sheets from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and the Sequestration State Fact Sheets from the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN).
TAKE ACTION: Draft and submit a letter to the editor urging Congress to protect low-income Americans in budget talks. The February Action sheet provides talking points, background information, and a sample letter you can use when drafting your piece. Use sequestration stories in your local paper this week to illustrate how Congress has its priorities messed and that we need to protect vulnerable individuals and families in budget negotiations. You can also use our online letter to the editor action to send your letters. You can find a list of media outlets in your state in our Media Guide.
RESULTS on the Road – Help with Outreach in Maine, Chicago, and Invite Contacts to the March 13 Intro Call
RESULTS U.S. Poverty Staff are busy working to strengthen our volunteer network with recent trips across the country and more coming up. Please help us spread the word about RESULTS. On Thursday, RESULTS New England Organizer Jenny Martin will be hosting a Community Information session in Bangor. This meeting will hopefully result in a new RESULTS group. Here are the details:
RESULTS Informational Meeting
All are welcomed to attend. If you know people in Maine, please invite them to come to the meeting. You can also invite people online using the meeting Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSBangor). During her trip, Jenny will also meeting with other interested people and community partners in Bangor area and points south. If you know people in Maine, let Jenny know at [email protected] so she can connect with them on her trip. In addition, RESULTS Senior Associate Jos Linn is working to restart the RESULTS U.S. Poverty group in Chicago in early April. If you know anyone in the Chicago area, please contact Jos at [email protected] for more details.
If you know of people in other parts of the country who might be interested in RESULTS, please contact Jos or Meredith. You could also 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 Wednesday, March 13 at 9:00 pm ET. Simply send them this link where they can register: www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.
New Study Shows Racial Wealth Gap Widening. Last week Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy released a new study on the racial wealth gap, finding that the wealth gap between whites and blacks nearly tripled over a generation. Specifically, among study participants, the wealth gap went from $85,000 per family in 1985 to $236,500 in 2009. Overall, the median net worth of whites in the study was $265,000 in 2009, compared with $28,500 for blacks. For more on the study, listen to the webinar hosted by the Insight Center’s Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative, PolicyLink, and Tom Shapiro, Director of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University from last week. For years, RESULTS had pushed for more investment in asset building policies, including the Family Financial Security Credit (FFSC). Download our Tax Credit and Asset Development Lobby Request Sheet for more details.
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!
Thank you and congratulations to our groups in Northern Virginia and PG County, Maryland for holding fundraiser house parties this past weekend. Both of them hosted our vibrant guest, Luwiza Makukula, to tell her story of recovering from TB and living with HIV/AIDS in Zambia. Her powerful story illustrated to many how the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria helps individuals like her to support their families and thrive. We have heard from both hostesses – Kay Neseem and Pat Behenna – how new people, past RESULTS partners, and dedicated RESULTS advocates came to these two intimate gatherings and donated over $2000! New connections and inspiration are wonderful outcomes of RESULTS fundraising events. For help planning your 2013 event, please contact Cindy Levin at [email protected].
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: February 18-22, March 25-April 5. Request face-to-face meetings.
Wednesday, March 6: RESULTS New England Organizer Jenny Martin travels to Maine for outreach. For more details, contact Jenny at [email protected].
Saturday, March 9: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online. (888) 409-6709.
Wednesday, March 13: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.
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 [email protected].
Saturday, July 20 – Tuesday, July 23: 2013 RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC.
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.