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U.S. Poverty Weekly Update May 1, 2012

The "discovery" of poverty at the beginning of the 1960s was something like the "discovery" of America almost five hundred years earlier. In the case of each of these exotic terrains, plenty of people were on the site before the discoverers ever arrived.

— Author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich, who will be speaking at the 2012 RESULTS International Conference

New and Urgent in This Week's Update (2-10-20 Actions)

  • Got Two Minutes? Rep. Rosa DeLauro to Speak on May Conference Call — Invite Five Friends to Attend the Call
  • Got Ten Minutes? Find a Town Hall This Week and Plan to Attend
  • Got Twenty Minutes? Generate Media in Support of Protecting Low-income Americans (May Action Preview)

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Rep. Rosa DeLauro to Speak on May Conference Call —Invite Five Friends to Attend the Call

RESULTS is thrilled to announce that Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3) will be a conference call speaker for the May 2012 RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. Rep. DeLauro is a champion in Congress for low-income children and families and we look forward to her insights and advice on how we can best advocate for them in these challenging times.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to invite five friends to attend the RESULTS national conference call on May 12 at 12:30 pm ET. This is a great opportunity to impress others about the work you are doing with RESULTS and to hear from a sitting member of Congress about how grassroots activists can make a difference on reducing poverty in the halls of Congress. To help you, we have an outreach flyer you download and use to let people know.

Background: Rosa DeLauro represents the Third District of Connecticut. She was first elected to Congress in 1990. She is the Ranking Member on the House Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, where she oversees investments in education, health, and employment, including Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care assistance. Congresswoman DeLauro believes our first priority must be to strengthen our economy and create good middle class jobs. She is a champion for children and families facing hunger, speaking out forcefully against cuts to SNAP and has been a tireless leader in advocating for investments in early childhood development programs. She also supports tax cuts for working families, including expanding the Child Tax Credit, and has fought for increased investments in education and infrastructure, supported the Affordable Care Act, and worked to promote pay equity for women. You can read more about Rep. DeLauro on her website.

Please join us on this special conference call as we gather to hear about the very serious threats to safety net programs and how we can mobilize our communities to protect America’s most vulnerable children and families. Also, use this tremendous opportunity and privilege of having Congresswoman DeLauro on our call to help build and strengthen your local RESULTS group. Finally, we welcome and encourage our new RESULTS “Free Agents” to participate in this call.


Find a Town Hall This Week and Plan to Attend

Members of the House and Senate are on recess this week. This is again a great opportunity to get face time with them at town halls and have them publicly take a position on issues of economic opportunity and early childhood development.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes and contact your local House and Senate offices to ask if your representatives and senators are holding any town hall meetings during this weeks recess. You can use our Elected Officials page to find contact information for local offices. Also ask the local scheduler if there is e-mail list announcing upcoming meetings and ask to be added to it.

If you plan to attend a town hall, use these resources to help you prepare:

  • The EPIC Laser Talk: a guide on drafting and delivering the EPIC Laser Talk on your issue; the perfect format for a town hall question.
  • Ask a Question at a Town Hall: This guide will help you prepare your town hall question, as well as tips on how to increase your chances of getting called on.
  • 2012 Request and Background sheets: These one-page “leave behinds” are summaries of our 2012 requests and background on each issue. We have sheets covering low-income tax credits, the Saver’s Bonus, and Head Start and child care. When attending a town hall, take copies that you can give to congressional staff attending the meeting.

In addition, the RESULTS staff is here to help you as well. If you are attending an upcoming town hall meeting, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff. We are here to help you.


Generate Media in Support of Protecting Low-income Americans (May Action Preview)

The last few weeks have been a trying time for anti-poverty advocates. With the release of the House Republican Budget, both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees cutting SNAP, the House Ways and Means Committee cutting the Child Tax Credit (CTC), as well as the drama around the Supreme Court arguments to overturn the Affordable Care Act, we have seen better days.

But that’s not the whole story. We have also seen advocates stand up against these attacks. You and advocates like you make nearly 1,500 calls to Congress in support of SNAP earlier this month, prominent religious groups urged members of Congress to reject the House budget, RESULTS volunteer Cindy Levin even helped get Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9) to make a House floor speech in support of SNAP. These actions, and many others like them, make a difference. While you don’t always see the fruit of your labor, the impact of your effort is there and it is felt. But to turn it into results, the effort must be sustained. This month we will help do that.

In May, we return to an old and effective tool in our advocacy toolbox — generating media. Media advocacy can be very powerful in shaping public opinion and influencing lawmakers. Being an election year where elected officials crave good press, this impact of media advocacy is only magnified. With these recent votes in Congress and an impending vote in the full House on the SNAP and CTC cuts (expected May 10), we have plenty of material to work with. We have to remind lawmakers and our fellow constituents that decisions to cut the social safety net are choices. They sacrifice one thing to protect another. They cut SNAP to avoid cuts to the military. The limit the CTC to protect tax cuts for the wealthy. The let student loans rates go up to protect corporate tax loopholes. These are all choices and when laid out in stark contrast to one another, people get it. Let’s make sure they do.

TAKE ACTION: Let’s use this tool this month to generate letters to the editor and op-eds supporting low-income Americans. The May Action sheet will be available online in a few days. In the meantime, tell Congress to get its priorities straight by send a letter to the editor telling Congress to reject these misguided cuts to the social safety net. Be sure to tell your senators and representatives by name to oppose these cuts and to support programs that help struggling individuals and families make ends meet. In the alternative, start drafting an op-ed in support of anti-poverty services that you can submit sometime this month. Use our Activist How-To’s to help you get started.


Join RESULTS Intro Tomorrow Night and New Activist Orientation Call Next Week; Outreach Update

If you know anyone interested in learning more about RESULTS, please urge them to register for our next RESULTS Introductory Call. These calls are ideal for people looking for a way to put their passion for justice in action with RESULTS. We do these calls twice per month and all are welcome. Our next RESULTS Intro Call is tomorrow, May 2 at 9:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. People can register at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet. Contact Jos Linn (jlinn@results.org) if you have questions about the call. We will also have a call on May 18 at 1:00 pm ET.

In addition, we will begin our next round of New Activist Orientation calls next week. This series of calls is great for new activists in your group or people wanting to learn more about RESULTS. It is a series of two calls providing a more detailed overview of RESULTS beyond the Intro Call. All are welcome. The calls will be May 7 and 21 at 9:00 pm ET, (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. To RSVP or more details, please contact Lisa Marchal (lmarchal@results.org).

Finally, RESULTS Senior Associate for U.S. Poverty Campaigns Jos Linn traveled to St. Louis to do an outreach meeting for the local group there. The RESULTS St. Louis group did a presentation at Washington University in St. Louis and enlisted a number of people interested in getting involved with their group. Congratulations, St. Louis! Jos will next travel to Buffalo, NY for the RESULTS Buffalo outreach meeting on May 9. If you know anyone in the Buffalo area, please contact Jos (jlinn@results.org) for details. We’re also working to start new groups in Rochester (NY), Montana, and New England. If you know anyone in these or other places around the U.S. and would like to connect them with RESULTS, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Team.


“GiveBIG” to RESULTS Ed Fund Tomorrow and See Your Donation Grow

All day tomorrow, May 2, financial gifts to RESULTS Educational Fund (REF) will have a greater impact. Thanks to the Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG campaign, gifts to REF of any size Seattle Foundation website between 12:00 am PT and 11:59 pm PT on May 2 will be “stretched,” i.e. receive a pro-rated portion of the matching funds or “stretch” pool.

If you didn’t participate in our recent Friends & Family Fundraising campaign, this is a quick and easy way generate financial support for the work of RESULTS, as well as a good motivator for many donors. Some people like “contests” such as this, while others are more prone to give when a match is involved. Our participation and success with GiveBIG Day will also be beneficial in promoting RESULTS with other prestigious charities and foundations.

TAKE ACTION: Go to http://tinyurl.com/GiveBIG2RESULTS tomorrow and donate to RESULTS Educational Fund. Once you’ve made your gift, please send the message below to your e-mail networks, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and anyone else:

Make a difference on May 2! From midnight to midnight on Wednesday, your donation to RESULTS Educational Fund (REF) will be "stretched" for greater impact fighting poverty. Go to http://tinyurl.com/GiveBIG2RESULTS and make a donation­ your down payment on a poverty-free world. For more details, go to: http://www.results.org/blog/give_big_to_results_may_2nd/.

Here is a Twitter friendly message: BIG news! Tomorrow, your #donation to RESULTS will be "stretched" for greater impact fighting #poverty. Details here: http://www.results.org/blog/give_big_to_results_may_2nd/ #give

Thank you to Karen Gielen and our Seattle partners for setting up this exciting opportunity.


Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Farm Bill, Cuts to SNAP

By a vote of 16-5, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill last week, which includes $ 4.5 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over ten years. The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) estimates that this cut could results in a reduction of $90 per month in benefits for many households. The bill now heads to the Senate floor for debate and a vote potentially at the end of May. The House has yet to act on a Farm Bill, and it is uncertain if they will (the current Farm bill expires at the end of this year). However, the House has made clear that it is ready to make big cuts to SNAP with the House Agriculture Committee recently voting to cut SNAP by an astounding $33 billion over ten years. It is important that we keep pushing our members of Congress to reject these cuts to SNAP.

Fortunately, Feeding America has provided an important tool to help you highlight the importance of SNAP in your community. The second annual “Map the Meal Gap” research study drills down on food insecurity data to provide estimates at the county and congressional district level. Visit the website to download maps and statistics specific to your congressional district.

TAKE ACTION: Use our online e-mail alert to send a letter to Congress urging them to protect SNAP. Be sure to customize your letter with local hunger data from Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” tool.


Quick News

Family and Church Groups Stand Up for Low-Income Tax Credits. Social-conservative group the Family Research Council has called on Congress to expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC) before important improvements to the CTC expire at the end of the year. This follows the House Ways and Means Committee’s proposed cuts to the CTC. Religious and family groups, including First Focus and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), have already spoken out in opposition to the House cuts to the CTC, which they estimate kept 1.3 million children out of poverty in 2009, as well as efforts to cut the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). According to The Hill, these statements are “a signal to Congress that, if need be, [they] will also lobby hard to ensure that the current child tax credit is extended in the lame-duck session.” Urge Congress to support the CTC and EITC using our online e-mail alert.

Raising Taxes on High-Income Households Would Not Harm the Economy. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities continues to delve into tax policy myths and perceptions with its latest report on how higher taxes on high-income folks would affect the rest of the economy. The report finds that “there is no compelling evidence to date of real responses of upper income taxpayers to changes in tax rates,” and recommends that tax policy should be considered as a tool for balanced deficit reduction. Read the more in CBPP’s “Reality of Raising Taxes at the Top” series.

Head Start Re-competition Process Has Begun. On April 19, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it would begin the first round of re-competition for Head Start providers. This new grant-making process is ultimately designed to make sure funding is going to quality, high-performing Head Start providers, and weeding out the providers who are performing below standard. Critics of re-competition worry that de-funding providers through this process will result in the disruption of children’s routines and the community, as well as job loss. Supporters of re-competition believe that reviewing Head Start grantees will ensure that funding is going to quality providers so that more children will receive a higher quality of care and education. Director Sanchez Fuentes, in charge of the Office of Head Start, assures that all providers participating in re-competition will continue to receive funding through the 2012-2013 school year, even if they are de-funded through this process, in order to provide continuity and as little disruption to the children, community, and practitioners and aid in a smooth transition to new providers in the area.


RESULTS International Conference — Speaker Lineup Keeps Getting Better

REGISTER for the 2012 RESULTS International Conference TODAY!

On the heels of last week’s exciting news that Jeffrey Sachs will be speaking at the 2012 RESULTS International Conference (July 21-24), we are pleased to announce more exciting guest speakers for this year’s conference. First, we are thrilled to announce that famed author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich will be a featured speaker at our conference! In her book Nickel and Dimed (2002), Ehrenreich spent time working in a low-wage job to investigate what life was like for the working poor. She has also written other books and articles highlighting the plight of working America. From 1991 to 1997, Ehrenreich was a regular columnist of Time. Currently, she is a regular columnist with The Progressive. Ehrenreich has also written for the New York Times, Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms, New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times, Salon.com, and other publications.

We are also very pleased to announce that Dean Baker, respected economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, will also be speaking at the conference. Baker is one of the few economists who predicted the collapse of the housing market that results in the Great Recession. Baker is frequently cited in economics reporting in major media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, CNBC, and National Public Radio. His analyses have appeared in many major publications, including the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, the London Financial Times, and the New York Daily News. He was also a guest speaker on the RESULTS National Conference Call back in 2008.

Finally, we are happy to announce that Jo Comerford, Executive Director of the National Priorities Project (NPP), will also be speaking. NPP works to make “complex federal budget transparent and accessible so people can exercise their right and responsibility to oversee and influence how their tax dollars are spent.” In addition to traveling around the country to promote NPP’s mission and vision, Comerford is a frequent media contributor with pieces appearing in outlets such as The Nation, TomDispatch, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Mother Jones and Dollars and Sense.

We are honored that these impressive and important voices will be sharing their knowledge, insights, and experiences with us at this year’s RESULTS conference. We hope you will join us in Washington this July to hear them speak.

REGISTER for the 2012 RESULTS International Conference TODAY!


Announcements

Save the Date for Child Care Webinar! On Thursday, May 17 at 2:00 pm ET, RESULTS, the National Women’s Law Center, and other allies will be hosting a webinar to talk about the importance of child care for working families. The webinar will focusing on mobilizing advocates to raise awareness of child care issues with policy makers. We will have more details and registration information in the coming days.

Friend & Family Websites Are Now Closed. Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent Friends & Family Campaign, where you raised $24,377 in support of RESULTS’ work to end poverty. The donor websites many of you created officially went off line yesterday. If you have persons still wishing to donate, please let them know about our GiveBIG Day tomorrow or have them donate through the RESULTS website.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House recess, April 28-May 6. Senate recess, April 30-May 4. Request face-to-face meetings!

Wednesday, May 2: RESULTS Introductory Call. 9 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. Contact us with any questions and RSVP for the call.

May 7 and 21: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9 pm ET. To RSVP, contact Lisa Marchal. To call in, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Saturday, May 12: Joint RESULTS U.S. and Global Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Tuesday, May 15: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information about the U.S. poverty group, contact Jos Linn at jlinn@results.org.

Tuesday, May 15: Deadline to apply for the REAL Change Scholarship Program for the RESULTS International Conference.

Thursday, May 17: “Put Child Care on the Map” webinar, 2:00 pm ET. Details soon.

Monday, May 21: RESULTS Free Agents group (Global Poverty) call, 8:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information about the U.S. poverty group, contact Lisa Marchal at lmarchal@results.org.

Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Register TODAY!


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 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 domestic campaigns.