U.S. Poverty Weekly Update November 26, 2013

“It is a crime for so many to be hungry in the land of plenty. Wake up, Congress, and end this tragedy!”

– RESULTS Snohomish (WA) volunteer Willie Dickerson in a November 18 letter to the editor in the Seattle Times

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


All of us at RESULTS wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Got Two Minutes? Leave a Thanksgiving Message about Protecting SNAP

As families gather this week for the Thanksgiving holiday, it is important to remember that many families face struggle to put food on the table every single day. That’s why the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is so important that we protect SNAP from deep cuts in the Farm Bill. Without SNAP, millions of American families would be facing empty plates every day of the year. It is best tool we have in the fight against hunger. Take time this week to remind Congress that we should all give thanks for SNAP.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call your Senate and House offices and leave a message with the receptionist about protecting SNAP. Tell them that Thanksgiving is a clear reminder that hunger in America is very real and we need to protect and strengthen SNAP. You can find contact information for your members of Congress on our Elected Officials page. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected your members’ of Congress offices. Once connected, leave this message:

My name is ________ and I’m a constituent from ____________. Millions of Americans will be sitting down with their families this week to celebrate Thanksgiving. Yet millions of these families struggle to put food on the table every single day. That’s why SNAP (food stamps) is so important. Without it, millions of children, families, seniors, and people with disabilities would go hungry. Congress should not be cutting SNAP. Please tell Sen./Rep.______________ that we should all be thankful that SNAP is keeping America fed. Urge him/her to tell Senate/House leaders to protect SNAP in the Farm Bill.

Calls are best but if you are pressed for time, e-mail your Senate and House members telling them to protect SNAP.


Got Ten Minutes? Follow Up with Aides with New Report on SNAP Spending (November Action)

After weeks of silence, news broke last week about the status of negotiations on the Farm Bill. Politico reported that Farm Bill negotiators were hoping to release a Farm Bill framework by Friday, November 22. However, hours later it was reported that negotiations had “stumbled.” Evidently one of the sticking points is the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). With the House pushing $40 billion in SNAP cuts (over ten years) and the Senate rejecting those cuts, it was proving difficult to find common ground. A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released on Wednesday showed that SNAP spending had flattened over the last year and was expected to begin declining in 2014. One of the key arguments SNAP opponents had been using was that SNAP spending was out of control making cuts necessary. This report undermines that argument and seemed to bolster Senate negotiators in the Farm Bill conference committee. Then on Friday, TalkingPointsMemo.com reported that Republican negotiators are feeling pressure to finish a Farm Bill and may give up on enacting deep SNAP cuts. Sources said that the final Farm Bill could include $4 – $10 billion in SNAP cuts.

While it is good news that House negotiators may be abandoning efforts to enact deep SNAP cuts, a compromise of up to $10 billion in SNAP cuts is unacceptable. Taking food away from hungry Americans is not compromise – it is callousness. Congress must protect people in hunger, not making them hungrier.

This month, you have been contacting agriculture aides in the House and Senate about protecting SNAP in the Farm Bill. The new report from CBPP about SNAP spending provides you a great excuse to follow up with them. Forward them the report (http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4054) and remind them that the best way to reduce SNAP spending is by strengthening the economy and creating good-paying jobs, not forcing people deeper into hunger.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to follow up with your congressional agriculture aides about protecting SNAP. Call or e-mail them with a link to the new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities demonstrating that SNAP spending is starting to decline. Remind them that cutting SNAP will do nothing to help people find work and feed their families. It will only force them deeper into poverty. Urge them to give the report to your representative or senators. Call or e-mail them today so you can get your message in before Thanksgiving.

The November Action, November Laser Talk, and our November Conference Call Resources can help you with your communications. Once you have made your calls, please let your Regional Coordinator or RESULTS staff person know how the call went and what the aide said. This provides us important feedback we can use to help mobilize more strategic actions.


Got Twenty Minutes? Set Up Face-to-Face Meetings with Representatives and Senators

Both the House and Senate are now on recess. House members will be home all next week and senators will be home until December 8. With so much legislative work left to be done, it is important that you get face time with your members of Congress. SNAP faces deep cuts in the Farm Bill and Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care assistance face sequestration cuts in next year’s budget. Members of Congress need to hear from you about the need to protect our national investments in ending poverty. Contact your congressional offices and request a meeting with your House and Senate members during the upcoming recesses. If you cannot get a meeting for the Thanksgiving recess, ask for one the next time they are home (the House wants to adjourn for the year on December 13). Be polite but be persistent. You are constituents and you have a right to meet with your elected officials.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to contact your House and Senate schedulers to set up face-to-face meetings during the current congressional recesses. It is essential your elected officials hear from you in person so you can remind them that balancing the budget on the backs of low-income Americans is unacceptable. You can find scheduler names and contact information on our Elected Officials page. Use our Lobby Meeting Request Letter for your requests. Also, be sure to take copies of our 2013 Lobby Meeting Requests with you to your meetings. You can down load them from the green box on our U.S. Poverty Campaigns page.

Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) to help you prepare.


Quick News

FRAC Launches “Who Goes Hungry?” Campaign. Our friends at the Food Research and Action Center ask, “If politicians are willing to “compromise” on more cuts to SNAP, who exactly are they willing to say should go hungry? That’s the question we’re asking Congress and the White House in our new campaign, “Who Goes Hungry.” If Members of Congress insist on cuts, we need an answer to that question.” Using their new website at http://whogoeshungry.org/, you can send a Thanksgiving or Hanukkah card to Congress and the White House. Also check out their sample social media messages for resources to share on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Report Highlights Impact of Budget Cuts. A new report from NDD United, Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Safe” takes a look at the impact of sequestration (automatic budget cuts that began in March 2013). The report provides data and stories of people who have been impacted by cuts to programs that “keep us healthy, safe, educated and ready to work.” Federal funding for discretionary (annually funded) programs will be severely restricted over the next decade as a result sequestration. As a result, funding for discretionary programs will be cut by more than $2 trillion by 2023 (inflation adjusted). This impacts programs RESULTS cares for such as Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care assistance. Take time to read this report and then e-mail Congress urging them to protect Head Start and child care in budget negotiations.

Attend Witness to Hunger Anniversary Event on December 11. If you live in the Philadelphia area, plan to attend the Witnesses to Hunger Anniversary Event on December 11. Witnesses to Hunger is a research and advocacy project partnering mothers and caregivers of young children who have experienced hunger and poverty. Through their photographs and stories, Witnesses advocate for their own families and others and seek to create lasting changes on a local, state and national level. Kate Scully from Witnesses to Hunger was our guest speaker on the November 2013 RESULTS National Conference Call. The event is Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 6:00-9:00 pm ET at Drexel University's Bossone Research Center (First Floor Lobby and Mitchell Auditorium), 3140 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA. To learn more about and to RSVP for the event, visit the Witnesses to Hunger website.


Announcements

RESULTS Offices Closed Thursday and Friday. All RESULTS offices will be closed Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Offices will reopen on Monday, December 2. Happy Thanksgiving!

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


RESULTS Fundraising Update

Do you know anyone in the Olympia, WA area? Our partners there are cooking up a wonderful house party event on Thursday, December 5 with RESULTS board member Ernie Loevinsohn. For more information to share with Washington friends, visit the event website.

Thank you to all our partners taking part in our Virtual Thanksgiving Feast online fundraiser. Congratulations on raising almost $2000 so far! In these last few days before the Thanksgiving holiday, it is the perfect time to remind your friends that they can help others eat by making a donation during a season of thanks and giving.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: November 22 – December 1; Senate: November 22 – December 8. Request face-to-face meetings.

Thursday, November 28 – Friday, November 29: All RESULTS offices closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, December 4: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

Friday, December 13: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

Saturday, December 14: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 2:00 pm ET. Note the different time; this will be a joint U.S. and Global Poverty call. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Monday, December 16: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm ET.

Tuesday, December 17: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 9:00 pm ET.

Wednesday, December 25 – Wednesday, January 1: All RESULTS offices closed for the holidays.


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.