U.S. Poverty Weekly Update May 20, 2014

An agenda that increases the rewards of work, encourages stable, engaged families and promotes healthy community institutions could be a shared political enterprise.

Washington Post columnist and 2014 RESULTS International Conference guest speaker Michael Gerson in a May 15 op-ed

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Find “Hooks” for You May Letters to the Editor (May Action)

As you work to get letters to the editors published in misguided tax priorities in Congress, it’s best to find “hooks” – something that will grab the attention of newspaper editors - and use them in your letters. Editors want to see 1) that you are reading their paper and/or 2) how your issue affects people in the local community. Good hooks can include a recent article in the paper, a local event or issue that relates to your letter, local statistics, or a local personality making a quote. In addition to citing a recent story in the paper, here are some other possible hooks:

TAKE ACTION: Find a powerful and relevant hook for your letters to the editor this month. See the May Action for more information and talking points about the issue. Then use your hook in a letter to the editor to your local paper pointing out that Congress should be working to protect low-income working families who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) instead of giving more tax breaks to wealthy corporations. If you are pressed for time, use the RESULTS letter to the editor action to send your letter quickly online.


Got Ten Minutes? Use the Media to Tell Congress What You Think of Their Tax Priorities (May Action)

This month, RESULTS volunteers around the country are writing letters to the editor about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Recently, the House is passed a huge “tax extenders” bill that benefits large corporations. Normally, Congress extends these tax breaks for a year or two (hence the name tax “extenders”), but the House is looking to make these provisions permanent. The cost would be $301 billion, all of which would be added to the federal deficit. Some of the corporations receiving these breaks are hugely profitable yet pay little or no federal income tax. Last week, the Senate attempted to pass a two-year extension of these tax breaks (which expired in January), but Republicans in the Senate filibustered the bill for procedural reasons. The Senate is expected to pass some kind of tax extenders bill, but it may not take place until after the November elections.

Your letters this month are intended to point out that Congress has it priorities way out of whack. While they pass bug corporate tax breaks, they refuse to make vital improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, allowing these improvements to expire in 2017 would force 12 people into or deeper into poverty. Congress has had numerous opportunities to make these improvements permanent since 2009 but each time, opponents are argue that we cannot afford it. If the House can support a $300 billion tax break for corporations, it seems that we can afford it. It’s time to call members of Congress out on these inconsistencies.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to draft a powerful letter to the editor pointing out that Congress needs to protect working families before wealthy corporations. Urge your members of Congress by name to oppose giving more tax breaks to people who don’t need them and instead work to make the EITC and CTC improvements permanent and commit to ending poverty in America by 2030. Use the May Action for talking points and background information for your letters. If you have questions or need with your letters, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

For more information, listen to the recording and download the slides and summary of the May 2014 RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call.


Got Twenty Minutes? Set Up Preparation Calls for your International Conference Lobby Meetings

One month from tomorrow, the RESULTS International Conference begins! We are looking forward to seeing many of you June 21-24 in Washington, DC. If you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late. There’s plenty of room for more people to take part in the biggest event of the year for RESULTS. Register TODAY and join us in DC – and don’t forget to reserve your room at DoubleTree Crystal City!

While the amazing speakers and impressive training sessions are reason enough to come to DC next month, the highlight of the conference – and it’s most important component - is Lobby Day (June 24). This is where you take all the knowledge and experience you brought with you to DC and gained during the conference and march up Capitol Hill to lead. That’s right, lead. Members of Congress are elected to represent you, but it takes your leadership to them what you want. Millions of people are hungry for a better world but it takes your leadership to inspire them to believe that they can create it. That’s what Lobby Day is. It’s not just doing meetings; it is profound statement to everyone that your voice matters and you intend to use it.

TAKE ACTION: We want to make sure you have a powerful and effective experience on Lobby Day. To do that, we do “lobby prep calls’ before each conference to give you coaching and support. This coaching includes specific information about your members of Congress, which aides you want to talk to, and how to request a meeting (for new people). We want to get all of our lobby prep calls done in the next few weeks. For these calls, you’ll want to everyone in your group coming to DC on the call (and those not coming can participate too); if that’s not possible, please designate someone on your group to take good notes and coach those not on the call. To set up your lobby prep call, please contact Meredith Dodson at [email protected] or (202) 783-7100, ext. 116.

Also, if you have already had a lobby prep call, please put in your requests for face-to-face meetings THIS WEEK. The longer you wait, the less chance of getting a face-to-face meeting. Please contact your House and Senate schedulers today (names can be found on our Elected Officials page) so you can get on their schedule as soon as possible. Use our downloadable meeting request letter or our online version to make your requests.

Once you get a meeting set, please enter the information into our RESULTS Conference Lobby Meeting Form. This is very important so please take time to fill out the form for each meeting you get scheduled.


Check Out New TalkPoverty.org Website from Half in Ten

Our friends at Half in Ten have launched TalkPoverty.org, a “new online hub where you can find the information you need to get involved in the fight against poverty at the local, state, and federal level.”

The blog on TalkPoverty.org will feature posts from low-income people, activists, policy experts, researchers, direct service providers, civic leaders, and others. The site is edited by Greg Kaufmann, RESULTS 2013 Cameron Duncan Media Award winner and former correspondent for The Nation. In the site’s debut yesterday, Greg writes:

We want this to be your community — a place where we build bridges with one another, grow the movement, and work to dramatically reduce poverty. We want your ideas and your involvement, so reach out. Right now, more than 46 million people are living in poverty in America, including more than 1 in 5 children; another 60 million people are just a single hardship away from falling into poverty. The Talkpoverty.org community is dedicated to them: with our words, our actions, and our shared commitment.

In addition to blog contributors, including this week chef Tom Colicchio, Witness to Hunger Sherita Mouzon, and former Governor Ted Strickland (D-OH), you can find basic poverty statistics and interactive state-by-state data; links to local, state, and national anti-poverty organizations; and other vital resources. We are grateful to Half in Ten and Center for American Progress for creating this invaluable resource. Visit TalkPoverty.org, give feedback, and be sure to share it with others you know.


Call Congress to Protect WIC TODAY!

The Senate Appropriations Committee will mark-up the Agriculture Appropriations Bill (or “Ag aprops”) this week. This is the bill that provides next year’s funding for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). As discussed the last few weeks, members of both the House and Senate are expect to propose amendments to their respective Ag aprops bills mandating that potatoes be included into the WIC food package. This sets a dangerous example and will open the process up to abuse in the future, where powerful interests can lobby Congress to include their foods in government programs (which are paid for with taxpayer money), regardless of the health effects. The WIC menu should be dictated by science, not money.

TAKE ACTION: Call the Capitol switchboard toll free at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to one of your Senators. When connected, say: “Hello, my name is ______________ and I am a constituent from ______________. I am calling to urge Senator/Rep. _______________ to oppose any efforts to include any provisions in the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would require specific foods in the WIC food packages, including potatoes.” Hang up and call again to be connected to your other senator and then call again to leave a message with your House member. If you don’t know the names of your members of Congress, find them at our Elected Officials page.


Upcoming Recesses Are Good Opportunity to Meet with Members of Congress at Home

The House will be on recess later this week and the Senate will be on recess all next week. Already members of Congress are setting up in-district meetings and town halls with constituents. Contact your House and Senate schedulers now to see if you can get a meeting while they are home. Also ask if they are holding a public events or town halls you could attend. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet with your members of Congress at home. This is especially true for those of you who cannot attend the RESULTS International Conference next month.

TAKE ACTION: Contact schedulers today (find names on our Elected Officials page) to set up meetings with representatives and senators during the May recesses. Use our downloadable meeting request letter or our online version to make your requests. Also, please ask the scheduler about any public events or town halls your members of Congress may be holding during the recess and plan to attend to ask a question.

To help you best prepare for meetings and town halls, please contact RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to give you personalized coaching for your individual members of Congress. Also, be sure to take a copy of our Economic Mobility and Early Childhood lobby request sheets to give to your members of Congress and use our Sample Town Hall Questions for town hall meetings and public events.


Join RESULTS Free Agents and Media Support Calls Today

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents will be meeting today (May 20) at 1:00pm at 9:00 pm ET for their monthly support calls. On this month’s call, we’ll talk about the May Action, the recent Tavis Smiley Town Hall, and the upcoming RESULTS International Conference. If you live in an area with no RESULTS U.S. Poverty group, would like to connect with other volunteers, and get trained and supported in taking action on our issues, please join us. To participate in one of the calls, dial (443) 453-0034 and enter passcode 703096.

Also this evening, the RESULTS Media Team will be holding their monthly support call at tonight (May 20) at 8:00 pm ET. This group meets monthly to help volunteers who want to improve their media advocacy skills. This month, they will discuss the May U.S. Poverty Action and strategies for getting media published. To participate in the call, dial (712) 775-7300 and enter passcode 954747#.

Finally, if you are new to RESULTS or know someone who might like learn more about our work, plan to join our next RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30-45 minute calls provide a good overview of RESULTS and how you and others can get involved. The next RESULTS Intro Call is Friday, May 30 at 1:00 pm ET. To register for this or another upcoming Intro Call, go to: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.


Quick News

Use the RESULTS Activist Toolkit. Do you know about one of the most important and helpful resources online? The RESULTS Activist Toolkit provides a step-by-step guide to a wide range of advocacy and outreach activities. Don't know how to set up a meeting with a member of Congress? It's in the Toolkit. Don't know how to write a letter to the editor? It's in the Toolkit, along with dozens of other helpful guides. Use this resource in your RESULTS work. It also makes a great outreach tool. Sending someone a link to the RESULTS Activist Toolkit (http://www.results.org/skills_center/activist_toolkit/) is an easy way to impress them and get them interested in our work.

For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page on the RESULTS website.


Invite Donors to Give During the International Conference

The upcoming International Conference is a great way to let our donors know about one of our most exciting activities of the year and invite them to be a part of it. Now is the time to create an on-line Friends & Family fundraising page for your group at https://www.tinyurl.com/2014RESULTSfriends. You can an social media fundraising campaign while you are lobbying by giving your donors facebook updates and always providing the link with the pictures you're sending back from DC. Your allies at home will feel like part of the fun and their donations to REF or RESULTS will actually help pay for our activities there. Do your donors need little extra incentive to see you push yourself or maybe wear a silly costume? Register for our Everyday Hero Virtual Dash to run/walk in DC or at home, create a fundraising page, and ask your friends to donate in honor of your physical challenge. However you'd like to inspire your donors, you can begin today!

Thank you to RESULTS Anchorage for their fundraiser last week. Good luck to Missoula, MT on May 29, Kitsap, WA on July 10,  and the Tacoma and Olympia groups doing a joint fundraiser in Washington state on July 10. Click on the links for more information and please share if you know anyone in those areas to invite to these inspiring events.


Announcements

Nominate Grassroots Volunteer for RESULTS Board. Grassroots Board Members play a vital role in the RESULTS family, representing our volunteer network on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Board of RESULTS and REF. We are seeking nominations for two Grassroots Board Member positions which will be open this fall. Candidates can be nominated by others or can nominate themselves. The deadline to nominate someone is Sunday, June 15. Please e-mail your nomination to [email protected] or call 202-783-4800 x152.

Give Feedback to Grassroots Board Members. The four RESULTS Grassroots Board Members (Heide Craig, Lydia Pendley, Ginnie Vogts, and Beth Wilson) would like to hear from you if you have questions or ideas about RESULTS and our work. Send your questions or suggestions to Heide at: [email protected].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: May 12-16, 23-27; Senate: May 26-30. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, May 20: RESULTS Media Support Call, 8:00 pm ET. (712) 775-7399, passcode 954747#.

Tuesday, May 20: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.

Monday, May 26: All RESULTS office closed for Memorial Day holiday.

Saturday, June 14: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Saturday, June 21 - Tuesday, June 24: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. REGISTER TODAY!


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. 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 email 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.