July 2015 U.S. Poverty Action
Make a Difference – Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings with Your Members of Congress
Set Up Meetings in July and August to Urge Members of Congress to Protect the EITC and CTC
Schedule meetings with members of Congress on Advocacy Day during the RESULTS International Conference (7/21) and/or during the August recess (House: 8/3 – 9/7; Senate: 8/10 – 9/7) to urge them to protect hard-working families who receive the EITC and CTC.
- Coordinate with your group to assign a specific person to request a meeting with each member of Congress (and candidates).
- Find contact information for the district office of your member of Congress through the RESULTS website (under “Staff” tab). You can also call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representative’s/senator’s office.
- Call and ask for the scheduler (be ready to leave a short voicemail).
- Use the following conversation as a template for the conversation with the scheduler. Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a constituent of Rep./Sen. _________________ from _________________. I am also a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots group working to end poverty. I know that Rep./Sen. _________________ values input from constituents on the issues that matter to us. With that in mind, our local RESULTS group would like to schedule a meeting with him/her while we are in Washington for the RESULTS International Conference / while he/she is home for the August recess. There will be at least ____ of us at the meeting, and we would like to discuss how we can create economic mobility through protecting and strengthening tax credits for low-income working families and ways we can work together to support innovative approaches to helping families move out of poverty. May I set that up today? What times would he/she be available to meet?
- You may be asked for a written request. Use the above conversation or our online template to create a request letter/e-mail.
- If the member of Congress has no time to meet this summer, ask to schedule a meeting the next time he/she is back home. Also ask if he/she is holding any town hall meetings during the August recess.
- Be sure to note the name of the scheduler and thank that person for their assistance. If you don’t get a firm answer when you call, mention when you’ll follow up.
Once you confirm a meeting, please contact RESULTS Director of US Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching, materials, and tailored requests for your meeting. For additional tips on how to schedule your face-to-face meeting, check out our Activist Milestone: Meet Face-to-Face with Your Member of Congress and our accompanying PowerPoint.
Meeting Face-to-Face is the Most Powerful Action You Can Take
RESULTS has long promoted face-to-face visits with members of Congress as the most effective way for everyday people to build the political will for change. A Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) poll of more than 250 congressional staff confirms that face-to-face meetings between constituents and their members of Congress is the most influential way to influence elected officials, especially when they are undecided on an issue. These meetings, along with personal communications with congressional offices (calls, hand-written letters, personalized e-mails v. generic online actions, petitions, or form letters) are more influential than paid lobbyists.
Importance of Protecting the EITC and CTC
RESULTS understands that tax policy is an indispensable instrument for addressing inequality and poverty in America. According to the United States Census Bureau, 14.5 percent of the population, or 45.3 million people, were forced to live in poverty in 2013. In the same year, however, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) together with the Child Tax Credit (CTC) lifted 8.8 million people out of poverty and reduced poverty for another 22 million, making these credits the most effective federal antipoverty programs excluding Social Security. Currently, critical provisions of the EITC and CTC are set to expire in 2017, and if Congress fails to permanently extend these provisions, more than 16 million people, including 8 million children, could fall into or deeper into poverty. In the coming months, leaders in Congress will push to make certain tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy permanent, while ignoring the needs of working families who receive the EITC and CTC. If we are to succeed in protecting these vital programs, we must raise our voices now. By meeting with your members of Congress in July and August, you can help protect millions of America’s hard-working families as we fight to end poverty in America.