U.S. Poverty Weekly Update May 21, 2013

Families who are living in poverty – hungry children, seniors, troops and veterans who are just trying to figure out how to keep the lights on and put food on the table – they did not spend this nation into debt and we should not be trying to balance the budget on their backs. They deserve better.

– Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) about SNAP cuts in the Senate Farm Bill
 

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Tell your Senators TODAY to Protect SNAP in the Farm Bill (May Action)

This week, the full Senate is debating on the Senate’s new Farm Bill proposal. This bill includes a $4.1 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). If enacted, this cut would reduce SNAP benefits for 400,000 households by an average of $90 per month. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is leading the charge to protect SNAP. She will introduce an amendment during the floor debate to undo cuts to SNAP in the Senate Farm Bill. Here is a current list of co-sponsors of her amendment. Unfortunately, some senators will also introduce amendments to cut SNAP even deeper or make it harder for people to use the program.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call your senators TODAY and urge them to support the Gillibrand amendment to the Senate Farm Bill and to oppose amendments that would harm hungry families. Call the Capitol switchboard toll free at (800) 826-3688 and ask to be connected to your Senate offices (or you can call directly; find phone numbers on our Elected Officials page). When connected, leave this message with the receptionist:

My name is _______________________ and I’m a RESULTS volunteer from _________________. I am very concerned that the Senate Farm Bill contains cuts to SNAP (food stamps). SNAP provides critical support for millions of families, including children, seniors, and people with disabilities. We should be working to help these families, not making life worse for them. I urge Sen. ________________ to vote YES on the Gillibrand amendment to undo the cuts to SNAP in the Farm Bill. I also urge Sen. _________________ to vote NO on amendments that would further cut or restrict SNAP.  Will you please give the Senator this message today? Children and families in our state are counting on him/her.

Be sure to call both your senators. Also, help generate more support for SNAP by forwarding this message to others you know and urge them to call as well.

For more information about SNAP and the Farm Bill, see the May 2013 RESULTS U.S. Poverty Action and our Recent Developments in Nutrition and Health Legislation page. You can also find out information about SNAP in your state with fact sheets from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. If you cannot call today, please take a few minutes to send an e-mail to senators using our Senate SNAP alert.

RESULTS thanks Bread for the World for sharing their toll free number for making calls.


Got Ten Minutes? Follow Up with Aides about Protecting SNAP (May Action)

Last week, both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees passed their versions of the Farm Bill out of Committee, both containing substantial cuts to SNAP. The Senate Farm Bill (S.954) contains $4.1 billion in cuts to SNAP, primarily to Heat and Eat programs which allow states to increase SNAP benefits for people who receive nominal home energy assistance. The cut would reduce SNAP benefits for 400,000 households by an average of $90 per month. The bill passed out of Committee 15-5, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) being the only "no" vote because of the SNAP cuts.

The House Farm Bill (H.R.1947) contains $21 billion in cuts to SNAP over ten years, primarily by eliminating state flexibility to enroll people in SNAP (called "categorical eligibility" or Cat El), and a deeper cut to Heat and Eat programs. It’s estimated that the House Cat El cut will force 2 million people off SNAP, plus 210,000 children will lose access to free school meals. The Heat and Eat cut would reduce SNAP benefits for 850,000 households by an average of $90 per month. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA-2) offered an amendment to undo the SNAP cuts in the bill, but it was defeated 27-10. In the end, the bill passed out of committee by a vote of 36-10, with eight representatives voting no because of the SNAP cuts.

For more information about the Senate and House Agriculture Committee mark-ups, see our Recent Developments in Nutrition and Health Care Legislation. The Senate is debating is its Farm Bill this week. The full House is expected to take up their Farm Bill in June.

Thank you to everyone who made calls last week about protecting SNAP. Reports are that in the House mark-up, the attacks against SNAP were quite muted compared to years past and several members spoke up passionately in defense of SNAP, including May conference call guest speaker Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM-1). That was the result of pressure from you and other constituents urging members of Congress to protect hungry children and families. It’s going to take a sustained effort over the next few weeks to protect the integrity of SNAP.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to follow up with your Senate and House agriculture aides about protecting SNAP. Call Senate aides today and urge their bosses to support the Gillibrand SNAP amendment to the Farm Bill and to oppose amendments that would cut or restrict SNAP. Call House aides urging them to co-sponsor Rep. McGovern’s amendment that would undo the SNAP cuts in the House Farm Bill and vote YES when it comes up for a vote. In addition, ask House members to co-sponsor H.Res 90 opposing all SNAP cuts, if they haven’t already. It currently has 125 co-sponsors.

To help you, we have updated the May Action with all the information you’ll need. You can also view the May Laser Talk, which is a sample conversation with an agriculture aide. You can find the names of agriculture aides on the RESULTS Elected Officials page.

If you cannot call today, send an e-mail or letter about protecting SNAP. You can use our House and Senate email alerts to contact them.


Got Twenty Minutes? Recess Next Week – Call Schedulers about Meetings and Town Halls (May Action)

Both the House and Senate on are recess next week. This recess comes at a perfect time during the Farm Bill debates. The Senate may pass its Farm Bill this week. The House will debate and vote on its Farm Bill in June. The fight to protect SNAP is far from over and this recess gives us the opportunity to remind our members of Congress that plans to cut SNAP are not popular back home. We must always take advantage of these opportunities. If we don’t use them to give lawmakers feedback on what they’re doing wrong, they will keep on doing it.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty volunteers have done a great job at getting face-to-face meetings so far this year. You have had 39 face-to-face encounters with members of Congress in 2013; last year at this time we only had nine. That’s fantastic! Congratulations to all of you – let’s keep it up.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to call your local or DC schedulers to submit or follow up on face-to-face meeting requests. Ask to see if your senators or representative have time to meet with your group next week during the Memorial Day recess. If you cannot get a meeting next week, ask to get on their calendars at the earliest possible opportunity. Also ask the schedulers if your members of Congress are holding any town hall meetings next week. If so, plan to attend and ask a question. We’ll have updated questions to ask on our Sample Town Hall Questions page later this week. You can also check their congressional websites to see if they have any events listed there. You can find DC scheduler names, local contact information, and website links on our Elected Officials page.

If you get a meeting set up or plan to attend town hall meeting, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff for help in preparing you.


RESULTS International Conference Announcements

REGISTER TODAY for this year’s RESULTS International Conference!

Let’s Make 50 the Magic Number. We’re only two months away from the 2013 RESULTS International Conference. Have you registered yet? The conference won’t be complete without you. We have about 30 current U.S. poverty volunteers attending the conference. That’s a good start but we want many more of you there with us. Help us get at least 50 current U.S. poverty volunteers (and even more new ones) to this year’s conference. Register yourself and then invite others in your group to register as well.

Invite Members of Congress to Lobby Day Reception. At the end of our conference Lobby Day on July 23, we’ll be hosting a reception on Capitol Hill. Prof. Muhammad Yunus will join as our special guest. We’d like to have as many members of Congress also attend as possible. Because those invitations are best sent by constituents, we urge you to invite your representatives and senators to attend. We have a customizable invitation on the RESULTS International Conference page.

Submit Nominations for Cameron Duncan Media Award. The Cameron Duncan Media Award is given each year to a journalist who has demonstrated outstanding reporting on issues related to poverty and hunger. If you would like to nominate a journalist for the award, please submit two relevant clips from the past 12 months that demonstrate the journalist's dedication to our issues along with a one to two paragraph nomination letter/email to Blair Hinderliter ([email protected]) by this Friday, May 24.

Send us REAL Changers. As we noted last week, the RESULTS REAL Change Scholarship has been extended to June 10. This scholarship provides the opportunity for young RESULTS activists and potential new activists to attend the conference for a fraction of the overall cost. If you know anyone 18-28 years old who is interested in ending poverty, urge them to download and submit their application today. See RESULTS blog post for ideas on who you can reach out, as well as a draft e-mail inviting someone you know to apply.

REGISTER TODAY for this year’s RESULTS International Conference!


Join U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call Tonight

Are you lonely tonight? Do you have a passion for ending poverty but no friends to do it with? Well, turn that advocacy frown upside down and plan to join the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents. Our Free Agents are a group a passionate, dedicated activists who just happen to live in areas where there is no existing RESULTS U.S. Poverty group. We have a monthly call designed to provide them all the information they need to be powerful advocates for the end of poverty. We discuss the latest legislative news, celebrate recent successes, and review this month’s action. It’s a great way to get support on taking action and connect with like-minded advocates from around the country. The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents meet every third Tuesday of the month. Our next call is tonight, May 21 at 9:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). Contact Jos at [email protected] for more information.

For those of you who want to learn more about RESULTS before joining a group or becoming a Free Agent, consider attending one of our RESULTS Introductory Calls. These 30-45 minute calls provide a brief overview of RESULTS and information on how you can get involved. If you or someone you know would be a great advocate for the end of poverty, invite them to register for the next call on Friday, May 31 at 1:00 pm ET. People can register for this or another upcoming Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.


RESULTS Outreach – Who Do You Know?

Can you make RESULTS more effective by barely lifting your fingers? Oh yes! Did you ever tell someone about RESULTS and, surprise, they were totally into it? The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Outreach Team is working to bring more voices, more groups, and more state and district representation to RESULTS. There’s nothing more exciting than citizen voices across the country! We could use your help (this is the part where you can lift a few fingers and make a big impact). Help us find those treasure people who groove with RESULTS. 

Contact our New England Organizer Jenny Martin ((413) 772-9596, [email protected]) with your recommendations for:

  • Boston, MA. The new Boston group is meeting again on May 30. Please contact Jenny for more details and to connect people you know with our efforts in Boston.
  • Burlington, VT
  • Brattleboro, VT
  • Bangor, ME
  • Lewiston, ME
  • New Hampshire cities and towns

Contact our South Organizer Myrdin Thompson ((502) 295-1315, [email protected]) with your recommendations for:

  • Memphis, TN. Myrdin is looking to hold a RESULTS Community Outreach Meeting in Memphis the week of June 10. Please contact Myrdin for more details and to connect people you know with our efforts in Memphis.
  • Louisville, KY
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Albuquerque, NM

Contact Acting Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Jos Linn ((515) 288-3622, [email protected]) with your recommendations for:

  • Orange County, CA. There will be a RESULTS Community Outreach Meeting on June 26 in Orange County (more details to follow). If you would like to participate in this effort, the planning team is meeting next Tuesday, May 28 at 7:00 pm PT. If you or someone you know would like to participate, dial (218) 486-1611, passcode 7837100#.
  • Kansas City, MO
  • New York, NY
  • All points in between

Please take a few moments to peruse your Contacts list or Facebook page to identify people who might enjoy working with RESULTS like you do. We are happy to work with you on the best way to introduce them to our work.


Quick News

SNAP Just One of Our Priorities. Although SNAP is or main focus right now, we are still keeping an eye on the latest concerning the Earned Income Tax Credit the Child Tax Credit, as well the Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care. Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA-1) is expected to introduce legislation this week making the 2009 EITC improvements permanent. This is a companion bill to a bill introduced in February by Rep. Neal and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3) that would make the 2009 Child Tax Credit improvements permanent. We will have more about the bill in later updates. In the meantime, urge Congress to protect the EITC and CTC by taking our online tax credit action. On early childhood, we are still awaiting news on when the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will meet to start working on the FY 2014 budget. With sequestration forcing Head Start and child care centers to close classrooms, Congress needs to mitigate these cuts in the budget. Remind Congress that “furloughing” children is not the way to balance a budget. Use our online early childhood alert to send your message today. Keep up to date with all our 2013 efforts on our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary.


May 15 was a (give)BIG Success for RESULTS – Thank You

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG campaign on May 15 by spreading the word or making a donation. The RESULTS Educational Fund page on the GiveBIG website received $5,546 thanks to many small and some large donors. This is an increase of over $1,000 from last year! A percentage of this amount will be matched by the Seattle Foundation sponsors like Starbucks to leverage even more from our donors' gifts. Thank you!


Announcements

Join the Media Training Call Tonight at 8 pm ET. RESULTS volunteer leaders will be hosting their next media training call tonight May 21 at 8:00 pm ET. Plan to join us for an excellent discussion, tips, and stimulating ideas for getting editorial writers to listen to you, finding the right person for an op-ed, or letting us know your latest success. We welcome all who want to improve their media skills. To participate in the call, dial (218) 862-1300, passcode 682494#.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: May 27 – 31. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, May 21: RESULTS Media Training Call, 8:00 pm ET. (218) 862-1300, passcode 682494#.

Tuesday, May 21: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587#.

Monday, May 27: Memorial Day. All RESULTS offices closed.

Friday, May 31: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

Saturday, June 8: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Wednesday, June 26: RESULTS Orange County (CA) outreach meeting. For more details, contact Jos Linn at (515) 288-3622, [email protected].

Saturday, July 20 - Tuesday, July 23: 2013 RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. 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:

  • Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns. Meredith is on maternity leave until Labor Day 2013.
  • Jos Linn, Acting Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
  • Jenny Martin, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, New England, (413) 772-9596, [email protected]
  • Myrdin Thompson, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, South, (502) 295-1315, [email protected]
  • Ann Beltran, U.S. Poverty Volunteer Lobbyist, [email protected]
  • Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Development Associate, (773) 236-7758, [email protected]

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.