Summary of 2003 Successes
Ending Poverty Around the World
In 2003, RESULTS volunteers met face-to-face with 75 representatives and 12 senators to urge action on a range of issues to address poverty worldwide. Global and Domestic RESULTS volunteers attended the annual International Conference in Washington, DC, for intensive education, training and lobbying, and met with over 300 congressional staff, as well as members of Congress. Global volunteers generated 118 newspaper editorials, 32 feature articles, 15 op-ed pieces, 90 letters to the editor and 3 radio pieces on these issues, and sent hundreds of letters to members of Congress each month. Global volunteers attended 12 national conference calls for training and education, with an average attendance of 175 volunteers each month.
Global Health: Tuberculosis and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
What We Did: TB, AIDS and malaria are diseases that disproportionately impact poor people, greatly worsening poverty and undermining the stability of families, communities and nations. RESULTS volunteers pursued several legislative avenues to expand funding for international tuberculosis programs and for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM); and to ensure that U.S. global health funds are spent more effectively to expand the number of people receiving prevention and treatment for these diseases.
Our global health media work helped raise public awareness of and support for international TB control programs and the important new GFATM. To support our strong work generating editorials and letters to the editor in local newspapers, RESULTS worked with high-level experts and allies. RESULTS hosted Zambian AIDS activist Winstone Zulu on a 14-city media tour of the country. For World TB Day (March 24), RESULTS hosted a conference call for journalists with TB champions Dr. Raviglione, acting director, Stop TB Department, World Health Organization (WHO); Dr. Helene Gayle, director of the HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis Programs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr. Francis Adatu, program manager, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program and Uganda ministry of health; and U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), ranking Democrat, Health Subcommittee, House Energy and Commerce Committee. In advance of World AIDS Day (December 1) we hosted a conference call for journalists on the twin epidemic of TB/HIV with Dr. Helene Gayle from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gregg Gonsalves, Gay Men’s Health Crisis; Dr. Mario Raviglione, World Health Organization; and Joelle Tanguy, Global Alliance for TB Drug Development.
Legislative Outcomes: RESULTS volunteers supported House and Senate legislation, the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003, which authorized funding levels of $3 billion a year on AIDS, TB and malaria, with up to $1 billion going to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM). RESULTS volunteers also supported several amendments offered by Senator Bingaman and Durbin to appropriate funding at those levels. This legislation also helped influence international health policy legislation on AIDS, TB and malaria, which included strong funding targets for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) and international TB programs, as well as language to ensure TB monies would be better spent.
Other Outcomes: This proved to be a challenging year for funding. In February, the president’s budget proposed major cuts to TB and child survival, as well as drastically reduced funding for the GFATM. With a struggling economy, and the administration prioritizing both a war on terror and possible military action against Iraq, we were pleased that the House and Senate Appropriations Committee not only resisted any cuts to TB programs, but actually provided a large increase in international TB and malaria control funding, bringing the House-approved level to $180 million — up from just $76 million in 2002 and $1 million in 1997. Funding for the GFATM in 2003 was finally set at $550 million. Although this is a relatively modest amount compared to the $1 billion RESULTS and other advocates sought, we are continuing to urge support for a fair U.S. share of the resources the GFATM needs to meet its potential in 2005. Additionally, our work has helped build much stronger awareness of and support for the GFATM on Capitol Hill.
Access to Credit for the Very Poor
What We Did: 2003 presented an opportunity for Congress to renew microenterprise legislation and help ensure more U.S. funds reach very poor people. Like other development programs, microenterprise — in which tiny loans and other key services are provided to poor people to start or expand self-employment ventures, so that they can earn more income and improve their family’s health, housing and education — can fail to reach very poor people without a concerted effort. Congress has required since 2000 that half of U.S. funds be targeted to very poor people. However, this was not happening as effectively as it should, and progress could not be monitored. In early 2003, we worked closely with members of Congress to re-introduce legislation that would require our foreign aid agency, USAID, to develop and start using important new poverty measurement tools that could better ensure that this would happen.
Outcomes: Microenterprise legislation quickly passed unanimously in the House, and then a modified version passed in the full Senate after gaining the support of USAID. During the final hours of the 107th Congress, issues unrelated to the bill kept it from final passage, but the process began anew in the 108th Congress with the introduction of a new House bill, H.R.192, on the very first day of the 2003 legislative session! This microenterprise legislation finally passed in June of 2003, but just as important, USAID has already begun work to support and implement the legislation. This represents a critical new direction for the microenterprise community with regards to poverty-focused programs.
Ending Poverty in the U.S.
In 2003, RESULTS Domestic volunteers met face-to-face with 40 representatives and 8 senators to discuss issues relating to hunger and poverty in the United States. In addition, 68 domestic volunteers attended the RESULTS Educational Fund International Conference in Washington, DC for intensive education, training and lobbying. RESULTS Domestic groups also organized at least 42 outreach meetings and through these added 104 new partners to their groups. Volunteers participated in 12 national conference calls for training and education with an average attendance of 105 people from around the country. Domestic volunteers and staff generated 31 newspaper editorials, 25 feature articles, 9 op-ed pieces, 78 letters to the editor and sent hundreds of letters to their members of Congress.
Early Childhood Education: Head Start and Child Care
What We Did: All children, including those in low-income working families, need access to quality early childhood programs in order to grow and thrive. Early childhood education and adequate child care can break the cycle of poverty. Many families struggling to move out of poverty cite lack of affordable child care as their number one barrier to securing and retaining a job at a living wage. Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) are the primary federal programs providing quality early childhood education and child care assistance. Both remain under-funded. Head Start currently serves just three out of five eligible 3- and 4-year-old children. CCDBG serves just one out of seven eligible children.
RESULTS volunteers worked to expand and improve the quality of Head Start and opposed efforts to dismantle it. In 2003 we worked to highlight the dangers of shifting oversight of Head Start to the states, focusing on the dangers of losing the comprehensive services, including health and dental screenings, nutrition and parental involvement, essential to the success of Head Start for the past 38 years. On February 26, 2003, we cosponsored a media call with the Children’s Defense Fund focusing on the efforts to dismantle the program. There were 52 journalists on the call — the largest media call in our history. This media call and the work of RESULTS volunteers and staff produced at least 27 editorials and 122 other media pieces on Head Start in 2003.
RESULTS also continued to emphasize the importance of an increase in funding for child care through a significant increase in funding of CCDBG as a part of the reauthorization of the federal welfare program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). TANF reauthorization was scheduled for 2002 but has not yet been completed. Since then TANF and CCDBG have been extended with no increase in funding.
Campaign Outcomes: In early 2003, President Bush formally proposed giving the jurisdiction of Head Start to an unlimited number of states. This prompted a public outcry, including hundreds of media pieces that RESULTS helped generate. In order to pass legislation, House leaders were forced to scale back the president’s original proposal to only allow eight states to take over administration of Head Start. On July 25, the House passed the School Readiness Act of 2003 (H.R.2210), by a margin of one vote. Twelve Republicans voted against the bill despite strong pressure from their party’s leadership; eight of those Republicans were lobbied intensively by RESULTS volunteers in the month leading up to the vote.
Immediately after the House vote on Head Start, several key Republican senators, including Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee chairman Gregg (R-NH) and key HELP Senators Roberts (R-KS) and Alexander (R-TN), spoke publicly about their concerns with the House bill and voiced that they would not support any shift of oversight of Head Start to the states. On October 29, the Senate HELP Committee unanimously passed Head Start legislation (S.1940 ). The legislation does not allow any states to take over the administration of Head Start. RESULTS volunteers, working with other Head Start advocates, were influential in shaping the House and Senate legislation through their work in the media. Many long-time advocates credit RESULTS’ early work, especially with media, in our success removing instate oversight from the Senate Head Start bill. However many advocates, including RESULTS, are not satisfied with the official bill language and are working to improve the Senate bill. Given that 2004 is an election year and there is so much controversy around the proposed changes to Head Start, Congressional leaders opted to extend the current Head Start guidelines, including federal-to-local oversight, until 2005.
On the child care front, the House passed a TANF bill in February 2003 and the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation on September 10, 2003, which did not reach the Senate floor in 2003. The increase in CCDBG in both House and Senate TANF bills, $1 billion over five years, is more than the zero increase proposed by the Bush administration but it is not enough to maintain the current number of families receiving federal child care assistance. At the same time, both bills will increase the demand for child care because of increased work hour requirements for welfare recipients. Congressional leaders opted to not reauthorize TANF in 2004 and instead extended current welfare law until 2005.
Asset Development to End Poverty
What We Did: RESULTS has been a staunch advocate for initiatives to support low-income families to build assets, including an expansion of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). These special matched-savings accounts provide, at the very least, dollar-for-dollar matching funds for qualifying participants. These funds can only be used to purchase a first home, finance an education, or to start a small business. RESULTS worked with other IDA advocates to urge members of the House and Senate to pass legislation introduced by Senators Santorum (R-PA) and Lieberman (D-CT) that significantly expand the number of IDAs from the current 20,000.
Legislative Outcomes: The Senate passed the CARE Act (S.476) by a vote of 95-5 on April 9, 2003, including the Santorum/Lieberman language providing $450 million in tax credits to create 300,000 IDAs. The House passed its version of a charitable giving bill (H.R.7) on September 17, 2003, on a vote of 408-13. However, the House bill does not contain the IDA tax credit. The House bill does contain reauthorization of the Assets for Independence Act, an IDA demonstration project. This just maintains a pilot program, and does nothing to expand access to IDAs. RESULTS has worked to educate members of Congress about the need to ensure that the IDA tax credit is included in the final House-Senate compromise bill. Many Congressional offices were unfamiliar with IDAs at the start of our work on this issue, and RESULTS volunteers met with hundreds of congressional staff to educate them about the opportunity to expand IDAs. RESULTS volunteers also generated 4 editorials and 16 other media pieces to educate the public about IDAs. Final House-Senate negotiations on the CARE Act were postponed and RESULTS will continue to push for expansion of IDAs, along with other asset-building policies, in 2004.