August 2010 RESULTS Domestic Conference Call: Being Strategic with Our Messages and Actions


August 16, 2010
Meredith Dodson, Director of Domestic (U.S. Poverty) Campaigns

The August Domestic national conference call focused on strategic actions during the summer recess as members of Congress are back home to push for critical investments in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). In September, Congress will make key decisions on tax priorities, and it’s critical that the stimulus bill expansions to the EITC and CTC be included in tax legislation. Strategic actions to take:

  1. Schedule face-to-face meetings with your members of Congress during the summer recess. They will be home for the next four weeks and we have to use this time to our advantage. Schedule those meetings and talk to your members of Congress about these issues. Use the local data and stories from your VITA Outreach in May to back up your policy requests. Also, be strategic in your requests. Focus first on the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees, since they have jurisdiction over tax policy. In addition, engage members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus because we need them to be a loud voice in support of the EITC and CTC.
  2. Follow up with tax aides in the House and Senate to talk about the importance of low-income tax credits. Contact them to find out where their bosses are coming down on making the ARRA provisions permanent, and get confirmation that your members of Congress have spoken to key tax committee leadership. For tips on having a good follow-up with members of Congress and their aides, see the July action sheet and Activist Milestone: Meeting Face-to-Face with Your Member of Congress.
  3. Look for public appearances by your members of Congress this month. Election season is coming up and many members will be looking for chances to interact with constituents. In addition to town halls, look for public appearances at events like state fairs and community improvement projects. These are great opportunities to get a few minutes to talk with them. Contact their local offices to find out what events and appearances they will make over the next few weeks. See our Activist Milestone: Ask a Question at a Town Hall Event for tips on how to make the most of that experience.
  4. Take the August action. Help build the public support for helping working families by submitting an op-ed or letter to the editor that connects working families with low-income tax credits. Use the August Action sheet for talking points and see our August laser talk for an example of a letter.

Our guest speaker was Mike Owen, the assistant director of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project, a research organization that focuses on economic opportunity and quality-of-life issues in public policy. The Iowa Policy Project is part of the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative, coordinated by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. To find out which states have these affiliates, go to www.statefiscal.org. Mike shared messaging tips for how to talk about our priorities for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit in the context of working families, using recent studies on how to voice support for government involvement in solving societal problems. Our August Action Sheet’s talking points focus on a basic American and human value — support for and by the family and the public policies that help us maintain and strengthen that value.

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