Domestic Weekly Update November 22, 2011

November 22, 2011

“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”

— W.J. Cameron

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

In this time of giving thanks, RESULTS wants to again thank you for your energy, commitment, and passion for seeing a world free of poverty.

We hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Super Committee “Failure”? No, a Big Sigh of Relief! Now Let’s Address the Wealth Gap (November Action)

Yesterday at 4:45 pm ET, the chairs of the “Super Committee” charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings announced that they were unable to make an agreement. Instead, a series of automatic cuts, called “sequestration”, will begin in January 2013 assuming Congress doesn’t find the savings on its own. According to the Congressional Budget Office, non-defense could be reduced by 7.8 percent below current levels in 2013. This means a variety of programs, including Head Start, Early Head Start, Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and RESULTS’ many foreign aid priorities will face tremendous pressure; the New America Foundation reminds us that a 7.8 percent reduction in Head Start funding would mean a cut of $585 million from current levels.

So, many are calling this a failure — but we at RESULTS are relieved given the possibility we could have seen draconian cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in an unbalanced and unfair deal that locked in tax breaks for millionaires and corporations that would widen the wealth gap further. Many key programs, including Medicaid and SNAP, are protected from cuts under sequestration. We will continue to push for smart investments in programs that make a difference in the lives of millions who live in poverty here and around the world to minimize the impact of the automatic cuts, grateful that Congress did not decimate safety net programs for tax giveaways for the “haves” this holiday season.

Our work to address the wealth gap continues to be critical. To help better understand the wealth gap in the U.S., we have created our Wealth Gap page on the RESULTS website. This page provides a brief overview of the U.S. wealth gap, including an analysis of how we got where we are. We also have resources and links to data on the impact of inequality on families, racial groups, the economy, and society as a whole. Be sure to use pertinent facts from this page when contacting congressional offices to urge them to begin narrowing the wealth gap. Remember, the American people want Congress to act on this issue. 60 percent of Americans polled in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll are concerned about the growing wealth gap and want elected officials to take action to narrow it. Let’s take this message to Congress.

TAKE ACTION: Take the November Action. Contact members of Congress by letter or with a phone call with the aide who handles tax policy. Urge representatives and senators to talk to House and Senate leadership, urging them to enact policies designed to close the rising wealth gap. Here are some short and long-term actions Congress can take to do so:

  1. Preserve and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit for low-income working Americans that lift millions of Americans out of poverty each year.
  2. Ensure that the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share by ending tax cuts and closing tax loopholes that concentrate wealth rather than create it.
  3. Support innovative asset-building policies like the Saver’s Bonus that help low-income Americans build the wealth they need to stay out of poverty.

You can use the November Laser Talk: Urge Congress to Narrow the Wealth Gap as a guide for calls with tax aides. In addition, you can use the widespread media coverage to amplify your message by sending a letter to the editor using our updated online tool, telling Congress to protects service for low-income families and address the wealth gap.

As background, our friends at the National Priorities Project (NPP) re-launched (which we mentioned in last week’s update) with some additional analysis. As NPP explains, “The site features real-time counters tracking the cost to the U.S. Treasury of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest one and five percent of Americans. According to the new site, should the super committee have recommended the sunset of the Bush tax cuts for the richest one percent, the U.S. Treasury would realize $1.4 trillion in additional revenue over the next decade, more than accomplishing the super committee’s deficit reduction task of $1.2 trillion over ten years.” In addition, if you are available this afternoon at 3:30 ET, we urge you to tune in to the New America Foundation’s webcast: Poverty, Inequality, Mobility, Oh My! to learn more about the wealth and income gap. If you missed the November national conference call with Marge Clark or would like to listen to it again as background, you can listen to a recording of it on the RESULTS website.

Early Childhood Development Campaign Update: Congress Punts 2012 Funding Decisions on Head Start and Child Care to December

Last week, Congress passed one of its “minibus” appropriations bills. This bill included funding for the departments of agriculture, commerce, justice, transportation, and housing and urban development. The bill also included a new continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running through December 16. The previous CR expired last Friday.

As expected, this leaves the FY 2012 Labor-HHS appropriations bill as one of the last remaining spending bills to finalize. The Labor-HHS bill includes funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Negotiators are working behind the scene to resolve differences between the House and Senate proposals, but evidently progress is slow. Let’s remind members of Congress that we expect them to put children and families first by funding Head Start and child care programs at the highest possible levels.

TAKE ACTION: Tell your representatives and senators to protect low-income working families. Urge them to talk Reps Denny Rehberg (R-MT-AL) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and tell them Head Start, Early Head Start and CCDBG at the highest possible levels (and no less than the Senate levels). Use our updated Outreach Action Sheet or our online e-mail action to contact your members of Congress.

RESULTS Outreach — Whom Do You Know in Maine and Massachusetts?

RESULTS is continuing its outreach efforts to engage new people in our advocacy work. Later this week, RESULTS Director of Domestic Campaigns will again travel to Massachusetts to help build support for RESULTS. This Sunday, she will attend the RESULTS fundraiser in Boston, and speak at an outreach events in Rockport, Maine, on Tuesday, November 29, and in Northampton MA on Wednesday, November 30. In addition, she’ll be meeting with advocates and allies in Massachusetts and Maine. If you know people in these areas Meredith should meet with, or who would like to attend one of our events there, please contact her ASAP at [email protected] or cell: (202) 263-9108.

In addition, don’t forget to invite people you know to our bi-monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls. These 30 minutes “Meet and Greet” calls are a perfect introduction to RESULTS for people unfamiliar with our work. Our next call will be Wednesday, November 30 at 9:00 pm ET. If you know people who might be interested, please encourage them to sign up using the registration page. Please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for more information.

RESULTS Fundraising Update — “Home Stretch” with a Few More Events

Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to the Washington, DC, RESULTS volunteer group on their fundraiser last week! In cooperation with a few terrific staff members, they threw a house party fundraiser focused on education, which has raised at least $2300. Guests were treated to an evening of wine and cheese as well as an address from former Congressman Jim Moody. Special thanks to Kay Neseem who shared her personal story and thoughts about education in Pakistan in her ask for contributions! Upcoming fundraising events include:

Sunday, November 27: RESULTS Boston Fundraiser. Contact Cynthia Tschampl at [email protected] for details.

Monday, November 28: RESULTS Indianapolis Fundraiser. Contact Deanna Roberts-Blair at [email protected] for details.

Sunday, December 4: RESULTS Bremerton, WA, Fundraiser. Contact Beth Wilson at [email protected] for details.

Are you a runner or have a January birthday? Our fundraising team is looking for a few enterprising partners to take our new on-line fundraising tool for a spin in January. If you’d like to run a 5K for RESULTS or invite folks to give online instead of baking you a cake, contact Cindy Levin at [email protected] to find out more.

Quick News

Agriculture Committees Propose $4 Billion in SNAP Cuts. Over the past month, the House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairs developed recommendations for $23 billion/10 years in program cuts with the hopes that the Super Committee package could include a fast-track Farm Bill reauthorization. A summary of the proposed cuts includes $4 billion/10 years cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). Now that the Super Committee has not produced a deal, it is not clear when Congress might take up a free-standing Farm Bill reauthorization, scheduled for next year. TAKE ACTION: Urge lawmakers to protect nutrition assistance programs that literally help families put food on the table. Use our online alert to tell them to oppose cuts to SNAP and other anti-hunger program, and urge them to weigh in with the Agriculture Committees this week as well as House/Senate leadership.

Balanced Budget Amendment Fails in the House. Last Friday, the House of Representatives was unable to garner the two-thirds vote needed to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the U.S. Constitution. The vote was required as part of the Budget Control Act passed in August. The final vote was 261-165. RESULTS is very pleased that the BBA failed; a BBA is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that would be disastrous for safety net programs and the economy. Although the House defeat is a great victory, the issues is not dead. The Senate still must vote on a BBA, which is expected in December. When in contact with your senators, urge them to reject any form of the BBA that comes up. You can find talking points at the Message Matters website.

Upcoming Events

(See a complete calendar)

Monday, November 21 – Monday, November 28: House recess.

Thursday, November 24 – Friday, November 25: RESULTS offices closed for Thanksgiving holiday.

Sunday, November 27: RESULTS Boston Fundraiser. Contact Cynthia Tschampl at [email protected] for details.

Monday, November 28: RESULTS Indianapolis Fundraiser. Contact Deanna Roberts-Blair at [email protected] for details.

Tuesday, November 29: RESULTS Outreach Presentation in Rockport, Maine. 5:00 pm ET. RSVP for details to Meredith Dodson ([email protected]).

Wednesday, November 30: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at

Wednesday, November 30: RESULTS Outreach Presentation. 5:30 pm ET, 215 Prospect St, Northampton, MA. RSVP to Stacy Carkonen ([email protected]).

Sunday, December 4: RESULTS Bremerton, WA Fundraiser. Contact Beth Wilson at [email protected] for details.

Saturday, December 10: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC (more details to come).

RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 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 Domestic Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS Domestic Update is sent out every Tuesday over e-mail 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 domestic campaigns.

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