March 2016 U.S. Poverty Action

February 29, 2016

The most recent poverty data from the U.S. Census showed more than 46 million Americans were living in poverty in 2014, including over 15 million children. Fortunately, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) lifted 9.8 million people out of poverty in 2014, including 5.2 million children. Congress passed a bipartisan tax package in December 2015 that saved key EITC and CTC provisions before they expired — the most important anti-poverty policy change in the last two decades, next to health care reform. Let’s build on that proposal by expanding the EITC, as House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Obama have both proposed.  

Use these talking points to write a letter to your members of Congress urging them to expand economic mobility by expanding the EITC for low-income workers without children:

  1. Introduce yourself as someone who cares about economic mobility in America and as a RESULTS volunteer.
  2. Remind them that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) support workers in low-wage jobs and lifted 9.8 million Americans out of poverty.
  3. Share your concern that 8 million low-wage workers without children workers are taxed into or deeper into poverty.
  4. Brookings Institution: The proposals put forward by Obama, Ryan, Lee, and Bush are strikingly similar (although they differ considerably in how they would pay for it). These expansions would double the size of the credit for childless workers and the pace at which the credit phases in and out (Figure 1). They would also lower the minimum age of eligibility from 25 to 21.Mention that House Speaker Ryan and President Obama have proposed to expand the EITC for low-wage workers.
  5. Share that the Treasury Department estimates the Ryan/Obama EITC proposal would benefit 13.5 million Americans, including 1.5 million non-custodial parents, lift 500,000 hardworking Americans out of poverty, and reduce the depth of poverty for another 10.1 million
  6. Ask your members of Congress to work with key leaders, particularly House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Ranking Member Sander Levin or Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and Ranking Member Ron Wyden, to move tax legislation that expands the EITC for childless workers this year.

Note: To find contact information for members of Congress, visit our Elected Officials page at: For other advocacy tips, check out our Activist Toolkit at:

2016 Campaign Priorities

At the start of 2014, RESULTS launched an overarching multi-year campaign focused on Creating Economic Mobility: Building Ladders out of Poverty. Our goal through the campaign is to enact policies that:  

  1. Ensure that all Americans have the financial means to earn enough income to make ends meet, 
  2. Stay on their feet while working to become financially independent, and 
  3. Build the savings and assets to weather financial emergencies and save for the future. 

Last month, the RESULTS Board of Directors approved our 2016 campaign proposal during their meeting in Washington, DC. We will continue our multi-year Economic Mobility Campaign, focusing on Building Financial Stability and Combating Wealth Inequality. In evaluating our campaign strategies, we will put an explicit emphasis on the drivers of the racial wealth gap as a root cause of poverty. While there is not much opportunity to move policies this election year, the possibility of tax reform in 2017 offers opportunities to enact asset-building policies and address wealth inequality along with an expansion of the EITC. As part of our Economic Mobility campaign, this month we’ll build bipartisan momentum to expand the EITC for childless workers. By the time of the RESULTS International Conference (June 25-28), we’ll incorporate a second policy ask that will focus on access to savings and wealth.

Our secondary, more targeted campaign is Building Political Momentum to End Hunger and Poverty in a Crucial Election Year. We’ll be engaging with current members of Congress, Senate hopefuls, and some House candidates to protect and strengthen nutrition programs, especially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). 

Obama/Ryan EITC Proposal is an Important First Step month we will build on the momentum of last year’s tax deal by pushing Congress to expand the EITC. The proposal by President Obama and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is an important first step towards ensuring that the federal tax code taxes no childless workers into poverty. Last year many RESULTS volunteers worked to build support for the EITC by urging their senators to cosponsor S. 1012 and representatives to cosponsor H.R. 902, which include a more robust expansion of EITC that ensures no workers are taxed into poverty (right).

In face-to-face meetings at home, letters, calls to tax aides, and by engaging your action network to send emails using our online action, we’ll build support for the ultimate goal: a tax code that ensures no American is taxed into poverty.  You can find contact information and the names of the Washington DC tax aides and schedulers on our Elected Officials page (under “Staff”), Once you get a lobby meeting scheduled or know you will attend a town hall meeting, contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching, use our updated tax credits laser talk and U.S. Poverty Lobby Request as you prepare, and don't forget to bring copies of media you have generated!


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