U.S. Poverty Weekly Update October 29, 2013

I worked as a speech pathologist with children for my entire career and I saw that children cannot learn while hungry or sick.

— Alice Vigil, RESULTS Austin volunteer in an October 25 letter to the editor in the Austin American-Statesman

I urge Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Rep. Michael McCaul to do the humane and responsible thing: ensure the healthy future of our country and our children by protecting SNAP in the farm bill.

— Gail Buxton, RESULTS Austin volunteer in an October 28 letter to the editor in the Austin American-Statesman

People who qualify for SNAP have very low incomes and cannot get enough to eat each month without SNAP to help them.

— Evelyn Cole, RESULTS Santa Fe volunteer in an October 24 letter to the editor in the Santa Fe New Mexican

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

Latest from Washington, D.C.

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Call or E-mail an Editorial Writer Using our SNAP Editorial Memo (October Action)

Congratulations to those of you who have submitted your media pieces this month and to those who have gotten published. To date, we have had eight pieces published; they come from the Hampton Roads Daily Press (letter to the editor or LTE), Des Moines Register (Op-ed), Chambersburg Public Opinion (LTE), Albuquerque Journal (LTE), Salina Journal (LTE), Santa Fe New Mexican (LTE), and Austin American-Statesman (2 LTEs). We know many more are still being considered so keep up the good work.

Our media work can take on some added significance this month and into November as House members head home on recess (see more below). With them home, getting media published about SNAP will keep the issue front and center. As we highlighted last week, we have a new resource available to help you with editorials. Our SNAP editorial memo provides the information you need to make a strong pitch to an editorial writer to write a piece urging members of Congress to protect SNAP. t contains facts about SNAP and how the House SNAP bill would impact millions of low-income Americans. Download the memo, call your local writer, and make your pitch this week.

Also, RESULTS and Feeding America are working to organize a national media call next week. The call is designed to motivate and inspire editorial writers and reporters to write pieces about protecting SNAP. We should know the details later this week. Look for an e-mail from RESULTS asking you to contact your local writers and urge them to dial into the call. Stay tuned!

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call or e-mail an editorial writer urging him/her to write a piece about protecting SNAP. Use our SNAP editorial memo for your “pitch.” Also see the October Action and October 8 Weekly Update for tips about getting editorials published. Also, use our October Laser Talk for guidance; it is a sample conversation with an editorial writer. Our Media Guide provides contact information for media outlets in your state. And as always, please contact RESULTS staff if you need help brainstorming media “hooks,” crafting your argument, or practicing a call.


Got Ten Minutes? House Members Heading Home for Two Weeks — Call about Meetings and Town Halls

It seems that the government shutdown wore House members out. Later this week, the House will adjourn for almost two weeks (October 31 – November 11). This means members will be home and available for meetings and town halls. This is perfect timing because it gives us the opportunity to amplify our SNAP message. We still want to keep up our pressure in the media — you can bet they’ll be reading their local papers while at home — but this also gives us the chance to meet with them face-to-face. House members have not been home this long since the August recess and a lot has happened since then (namely the passage of the H.R. 3102, which cuts SNAP by $40 billion). What better way to let them know how you feel their efforts to gut SNAP than telling them face-to-face.

TAKE ACTION: Contact your House scheduler to see if you can schedule a face-to-face meeting with your representative during the upcoming recess. See our Elected Officials page for scheduler names and contact information. If you have not met with your member of Congress in a while, be polite and persistent about scheduling a meeting. Also, ask the scheduler if your representative will be holding any town halls or public events during the recess. If so, plan to attend. Town Halls are a great way to get your member of Congress to publicly take a stand on the issues. See our Sample Town Hall questions for ideas of questions to ask. Also, once you get a meeting scheduled or learn about a town hall, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected], (515) 288-3622) to help you prepare.

Below are the members of the Farm Bill Conference Committee. Meeting with these House members is especially important so if you live in these districts, call TODAY about scheduling a meeting. If your representative is not in this list, meet with him/her and tell him/her to speak with Frank Lucas and Collin Peterson about protecting SNAP in the final Farm Bill.

House Farm Bill Conference Committee Members: Reps. Frank D. Lucas (R-OK-3; Agriculture Committee Chair), Collin Peterson (D-MN-7; Agriculture Committee Ranking Member), Martha Roby (R-AL-2), Mike D. Rogers (R-AL-3), Rick Crawford (R-AR-1), Jeff Denham (R-CA-10), Jim Costa (D-CA-16), Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA-35), Ed Royce (R-CA-39), Steve Southerland (R-FL-2), Austin Scott (R-GA-8), Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), Steve King (R-IA-4), Jim McGovern (D-MA-2), Dave Camp (R-MI-4), Sandy Levin (D-MI-9), Tim Walz (D-MN-1), Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), Mike McIntyre (D-NC-7), Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5), Glenn Thompson (R-PA-5), Tom Marino (R-PA-10), Kristi Noem (R-SD-AL), Sam Johnson (R-TX-3), K. Michael Conaway (R-TX-11), Randy Neugebauer (R-TX-19), Filemon Vela (D-TX-34), and Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1).


Got Twenty Minutes? Use RESULTS Editorial Memo to Submit a Memorable Op-ed (October Action)

Last week, RESULTS made a new SNAP editorial memo available to use for pitching SNAP editorials to local writers. This memo has helpful information about SNAP, as well as information on the current threats to it. It’s good for organizing your thoughts and arguments before calling an editorial writer (you can also send it to the writer after your pitch).

The memo also has another benefit. It provides a solid foundation for a powerful op-ed. Use it to draft one today. The main components of an op-ed are your lead (first paragraph), supporting evidence (middle 3-4 paragraphs), and your call to action (final paragraph). The memo provides your supporting evidence and your call to action is easy — urge your members of Congress (by name) to protect SNAP in the final Farm Bill. Therefore, the only thing left is your lead, which is easier than you may think. It connects the reader to your piece. Stories, events, or powerful facts are very good ways to create a good lead. To help you, our October Action has an entire section on writing leads.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to draft and then submit your op-ed about protecting SNAP. Use our SNAP editorial memo and the October Action to help draft your piece. Do this even if you are also planning to pitch an editorial. Draft your op-ed as a back-up in case the paper won’t do the editorial or if they do, submit the op-ed to another paper. The Farm Bill conference committee is meeting this week and then House members will be home for two weeks. What better way to welcome them home than with a media blitz about protecting SNAP. See our Media Guide provides contact information for media outlets in your state. Also, please contact RESULTS’ Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) for help with your op-eds.

If you don’t have time for an op-ed or editorial, take a few minutes to submit a letter to the editor about protecting SNAP using our online LTE alert.


SNAP Cuts Begin This Week — Call Ag Aides about Protecting Hungry Americans

The Farm Conference Committee will meet this Wednesday for their first negotiating session over the new Farm Bill. Will leaders make protecting of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) a priority? Or will they use SNAP cuts as an ATM to fund other programs? In a bit of timing irony, while negotiators start wrangling over SNAP this week, all SNAP recipients will see their benefits cut. In 2009, SNAP benefits were increased as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The increase was originally meant to stay in place over time until annual inflation adjustments for SNAP benefits caught up with the increase. That way, the ARRA increase would simply phase out and families would not see a drop in benefits. However, in 2010, Congress decided to use that ARRA SNAP money for something else (child nutrition). This undid the phase out and created a hard end date for ARRA increase. That date is October 31, 2013.

While congressional leaders promised to undo this cut before deadline, they didn’t keep that promise. As a result, the average family of four will see their benefits drop by $36 per month beginning Friday. The total cut amounts to about $5 billion in 2014. To see the full impact of the cut, including the impacts on your particular state, see this excellent analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

This cut makes our work on the Farm Bill and SNAP all that more important. The cuts proposed by the House and Senate in the respective Farm Bills are in addition to this week’s cut in benefits. It is unconscionable that Congress would consider making hungry families struggle even more than they already are. To push back at these efforts, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has submitted a letter to leadership signed by 39 senators urging negotiators to protect SNAP in the final Farm Bill. Follow her lead and tell your representatives and senators to protect SNAP.

TAKE ACTION: Contact the agriculture aide for your representatives and senators to tell them you are concerned about hunger in America and that you’re very upset that Congress is contemplating deep cuts to SNAP. Remind them of the ARRA cut happening this week and the impact on your state and then tell them we cannot pile on more hardship for hungry families by cutting SNAP in the Farm Bill. You can find the names of these aides on our Elected Officials page. Have one person in your group contact the ag aide and ask him/her to have his/her boss weigh in with Reps. Frank Lucas and Collin Peterson (for House members) or Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Thad Cochran (for Senators) about protecting SNAP in the Farm Bill. If your member of Congress is on the conference committee (see list below), ask the aide to urge his/her boss to work to protect and strengthen SNAP in Farm Bill negotiations. Also, if your senator signed the Gillibrand SNAP letter, be sure to thank him/her. The October Action has talking points to help you and please contact RESULTS’ Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) for help in preparing for your calls.

Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee Members: Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI; Agriculture Committee Chair), Thad Cochran (R-MS; Agriculture Committee Ranking Member), John Boozman (R-AR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Max Baucus (D-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

House Farm Bill Conference Committee Members: Reps. Frank D. Lucas (R-OK-3; Agriculture Committee Chair), Collin Peterson (D-MN-7; Agriculture Committee Ranking Member), Martha Roby (R-AL-2), Mike D. Rogers (R-AL-3), Rick Crawford (R-AR-1), Jeff Denham (R-CA-10), Jim Costa (D-CA-16), Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA-35), Ed Royce (R-CA-39), Steve Southerland (R-FL-2), Austin Scott (R-GA-8), Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), Steve King (R-IA-4), Jim McGovern (D-MA-2), Dave Camp (R-MI-4), Sandy Levin (D-MI-9), Tim Walz (D-MN-1), Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), Mike McIntyre (D-NC-7), Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5), Glenn Thompson (R-PA-5), Tom Marino (R-PA-10), Kristi Noem (R-SD-AL), Sam Johnson (R-TX-3), K. Michael Conaway (R-TX-11), Randy Neugebauer (R-TX-19), Filemon Vela (D-TX-34), and Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1).


RESULTS Outreach; Join RESULTS Webinar Tomorrow at 12:30 pm ET

We continue our outreach efforts to build a bigger and louder grassroots movement for the end of poverty. Here are some upcoming events you or people you know can connect with:

  • Zahara Heckscher continues her outreach in New England. She is in New Hampshire today and is working to create new RESULTS groups there and in Maine. If you know people in these or other parts of New England who might be interested in RESULTS, please contact Zahara at [email protected] or (202) 489-8908.
  • Myrdin Thompson will be hosting a RESULTS outreach meeting in Lexington, KY this Saturday, November 2, at Lexington Public Library, Beaumont Branch, 3080 Fieldstone Way in Lexington. See the Facebook Event page for more information or contact Myrdin at [email protected].
  • Myrdin is also working with Indiana leaders from Circles USA to start a new group in Indianapolis, IN. They are having a meeting on Thursday, November 21. For more details, contact Myrdin at [email protected].
  • Jos Linn continues to work with new groups in Kansas City, MO, Waterloo, IA, and the Los Angeles area. He will be visiting these groups in the coming weeks. If you know people in these or other areas of the country, please contact Jos to get them connected to our work ([email protected], (515) 288-3622).
  • RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson continues to work with advocates in Baltimore, MD on starting a new group there. For more information on Meredith’s outreach work, contact her at ([email protected]).

Meredith Dodson will also be hosting webinar on deficit reduction and poverty with Circles USA. This webinar will focus on practical ways we can protect core safety net programs, especially SNAP — using the collaboration between RESULTS and Circles New Mexico as a case study. It will cover what Congress is considering in the name of “deficit reduction”, overview survey data of Congressional staff on what advocacy strategies make a difference, and review best practices for lobby meetings with elected officials to impact the debate. The webinar is tomorrow, October 30 at 12:30 pm ET. To participate in the webinar, go to https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/686341701. You can join the conference call for the webinar at (605) 475-4700, passcode 632769#.

Finally, be sure to check out our brand new RESULTS promotional video Everyday Heroes 2013. It is a wonderful seven-minute introduction to RESULTS. Forward it to people you know and urge them to sign up for an upcoming RESULTS Intro Call to learn more.


Quick News

New Resources and Polling Highlight Importance of Early Learning Investments. Last week the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released a new report on child care assistance in the states. The survey shows that in twenty-seven states, policy changes are helping families better access child care, but families are losing ground in twenty-four others. “It’s a pivotal moment for child care assistance,” said NWLC Co-President Nancy Duff Campbell. “We can either build on this progress or squander the opportunity. Automatic federal budget cuts from the sequester threaten these gains, but we can build on them if we end the sequester and step up our investments in child care, as proposed in President Obama’s early learning initiative.” In addition, Child Care Aware has released new child care fact sheets for each state. With new polling showing that people overwhelmingly support new investments in early learning, it’s time for Congress to catch up with the American people. Use these new resources to e-mail your members of Congress, urging them to support new investments in Head Start and child care in the FY 2014 budget.

Medicaid Enrollment Surging under ACA. Lost in all the talk about the problems with the Healthcare.gov website is the fact that new enrollment in Medicaid is surging under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a few states that have released figures, the vast majority of new enrollees under the ACA are Medicaid eligible. The expanded coverage under Medicaid, plus all the recent media attention around the ACA, is prompting people to sign up, including those who were previously eligible but never enrolled. RESULTS Health Care for All campaign in 2009-10 focused on a great deal on expanding Medicaid under the ACA, which is a key component of the new law. Expanded overage under Medicaid will begin January 1. Congratulations to everyone in RESULTS who fought to protect and expand Medicaid in health reform — you hard work is paying off!

Join Half in Ten Webinar on the War on Poverty. The U.S. will mark the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty in January 2014. The debate over the safety net programs that help millions of families nationwide is already heating up, and as an anti-poverty community, it’s important that we are well-equipped to face this rapidly approaching challenge and opportunity. To help with this, our friends at Half in Ten are hosting a webinar on November 7 at 2:00 pm ET. In this webinar, speakers will provide more information on the anniversary and role of the new poverty data out this fall, the latest advocacy resources you can leverage to make the most of the anniversary, and discuss how storytelling can help all of us make the most of this opportunity so that we can push back on misinformation and lay the groundwork for proactive policy that will cut poverty in America. Sign up today!


Announcements

Don’t Forget to Vote for Grassroots Board Member. RESULTS is electing a new Grassroots Board Member to serve on the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board. Grassroots Board Members serve for a term of three years, and represent the volunteer body on the Board of Directors and on the Executive Committee of the Board of RESULTS and REF. The three nominees are Frank Gilbert of Louisville, KY, Roger Hudson of Anchorage, AK, and Lydia Pendley of Santa Fe, NM. You can read their candidate bios on the RESULTS website. All active RESULTS volunteers are eligible to vote. You must vote by November 6. Help shape the future of RESULTS — vote for the Grassroots Board Member today.

Join the Media Training Call on November 12. Our Media Training Team will be hosting their monthly media training call in a couple of weeks. These calls can help you expand and improve your media advocacy and volunteer-run and volunteer-driven. Mark your calendars and plan to call in. The call is Tuesday, November 12 at 8 pm ET. Dial 218-862-1300, passcode 682494 to participate.

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


RESULTS Fundraising Update

Fundraising event season is officially in full swing! Huge thanks to Bernardsville, NJ, Houston, TX, Austin, TX, and Bremerton/Kitsap, WA for hosting fundraisers this past week. The numbers are not all in yet, but Austin well exceeded their goal and brought in over $20,000 and Bremerton/Kitsap has raised $27,000 so far. If you know anyone in the following cities, please invite them to our fundraisers this weekend:

Our thanks also go to our Virtual Thanksgiving Feast fundraisers: Liz Clerkin and Tanya Oemig. You can join them by registering your own personal fundraising page to ask your friends support our domestic and global nutrition campaigns during this Thanksgiving season of plenty to help children who don't know when their next meal will be. Contact Cindy at [email protected] if you need assistance.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: October 31 – November 11; Senate: November 28 – December 1. Request face-to-face meetings.

Saturday, November 2: RESULTS Lexington (KY) Informational Meeting, 4:00 pm ET. Lexington Public Library, Beaumont Branch, 3080 Fieldstone Way in Lexington. Facebook Event page. For more information or contact Myrdin at [email protected].

Wednesday, November 6: Voting ends for RESULTS Grassroots Board member. Vote today.

Saturday, November 9: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET... Listen to previous conference calls online.

Wednesday, November 11: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

Monday, November 18: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm ET. (267) 507-0370, passcode RESULTS (7378587, plus #).

Tuesday, November 19: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 9:00 pm ET. (267) 507-0370, passcode RESULTS (7378587, plus #).


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.