U.S. Poverty Campaigns Weekly Update July 24, 2018

July 24, 2018

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | July 24, 2018

“RESULTS. It’s about the power to end poverty.”

– Alma Rutgers in a July 15 op-ed in the Greenwich Time about RESULTS Coastal Connecticut volunteers lobbying in DC

Got Two Minutes? Schedule Meetings for the August Recess

The August congressional recess is fast approaching. That means it’s time to schedule meetings with members of Congress for when they are home next month. RESULTS volunteers had hundreds of meetings with members of Congress and their staff last week at the RESULTS International Conference (see our blog for daily recaps). But we must keep pushing members of Congress to protect SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) in the final farm bill. The House has named its official Republican and Democratic conferees, and the Senate will do so either later today or tomorrow. They are beginning to negotiate over the final bill and their goal is to produce and vote on a final farm bill by September 30, when the current farm bill expires.

With House Agriculture Chair Mike Conaway continuing to push for harmful work requirements and time limits in the final bill, we must make the case to representatives and senators that any farm bill that takes food assistance away from people who cannot find work with stable hours is unacceptable – the only path forward must be a bipartisan bill that protect SNAP. Meeting with Congress in August – along with continued follow up with aides (see below) – is vital to sending that message.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to schedule meetings for the August recess. The House recess from July 30 through September 3, but the Senate will only recess from August 6-10. Contact their schedulers to set up a meeting as soon as possible. Use our online request to send e-mails or make a call to the scheduler. Be sure to ask about town halls they are having during the recesses. Once you get a meeting or town hall in your calendar, please contact Meredith Dodson ASAP to set up a lobby prep call to help get you ready.

Got Ten Minutes? Fill Out the Conference Survey

Please take a few minutes and fill out the 2018 RESULTS International Conference survey while the experience is still fresh in your mind. Your feedback helps us improve on the Conference from year to year. Campaign overviews early in the Conference, a networking session to get to know your fellow advocates, and more time to prepare for lobby day are just a few of the changes we’ve made over the last few years based on your feedback. Your suggestions will help us make the next Conference even better.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to fill out the 2018 RESULTS International Conference survey. Let us know what you thought and how we can improve upon your experience next time.

Got Twenty Minutes? Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

After a wonderfully successful RESULTS International Conference last week, you don’t want to let the momentum dissipate, especially on our most important issues. As Conference speaker Heather Booth said last week, 90 percent of organizing is follow up. If you want to make a difference on the issues you care about, you have to follow up. It’s the best (and only) way to hold yourself and others accountable for their promises. It is also a good way to deepen the relationships you have with aides in DC and people in your community.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to follow up from the RESULTS International Conference by doing the following:

  1. Follow up with House and Senate aides. Contact the aides you met with last week and thank them. Also, forward any additional information you have for them, answer any questions that did not get answered in your meetings, and set a time to contact them again after they’ve discussed your requests with your members of Congress.
  2. Follow up with RESULTS by submitting lobby reports. Please fill out our Lobby Report Form for each of your meetings last week (and any meetings you have at home). The information you got in your lobby meetings is invaluable to us and our allies. You may have heard a new argument for or against our issues, new intelligence on what to expect next, or new insights on how to move your member of Congress. We can help you maximize the use of that information, once you send it to us.
  3. Follow up with group members, your action networks, and allies. There are surely many people in your community who supported you in attending the Conference. Some wrote letters for you to deliver in lobby meetings, some perhaps donated money to help you attend, others may have just wished you well. Let them know you appreciate their support by telling them about your experience. Send an e-mail highlighting the experience, let them know how their support helped make the Conference a success (maybe sharing a blogpost, a favorite picture, or one of the conference session videos), and ask them to take an action to keep the momentum going. This will go a long way in keeping your community engaged in your local RESULTS work.

Several New Bills Address Economic Mobility and Housing Policy

As discussed at the International Conference last week, RESULTS is exploring the connections between Tax and Housing Policy, and Racial Wealth Inequality. As some heard firsthand during lobby meetings, last week several policymakers introduced legislation related to these issues. Here is a rundown of some of the new policy developments:  

Housing Choice Mobility Vouchers: Last month the House passed the Housing Choice Mobility Voucher Demonstration Act (H.R.5793) with a vote of 368-19. The proposed bill would enable state public housing authorities to provide housing search assistance and more supportive services to voucher holders who want to move to higher opportunity areas as well as increase recruitment of landlords to participate in voucher programs. The House Appropriations Committee has allocated $50 million for the demonstration in its FY 19 spending bill. Earlier in May the Senate introduced a similar bill (S.2945) led by Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) which requires public housing authorities to create a plan for helping low-income families move to higher opportunity schools areas and authorizes HUD to provide funding for mobility voucher demonstrations.  

Bipartisan Savings Package Includes Rainy Day EITC: Last Tuesday, a group of bipartisan senators led by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Todd Young (R-IN) reintroduced a package of savings bills including the Refund to Rainy Day Savings Act. (S.3220) The proposed bill would allow tax payers to divert a share of their annual tax refund into savings for later in the year. The bill would support the 30 percent of Americans who don't have savings account which can leave them vulnerable to financial shocks from unexpected life events or emergencies. As you may know, establishing a Rainy Day EITC Savings program contributes towards addressing racial wealth inequality by providing low-income families of color with opportunities to build savings which are part of wealth.

Bipartisan Housing Task Force Legislation: On July 18th, a group of bipartisan senators led by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act (S.3231). As the title suggests, the bill would establish a task force to better understand the federal, state and local costs of the affordable housing crisis and make recommendations to Congress on how best to respond to the crisis. You can learn more about the proposed bill here.  

The Promoting Resident Opportunity through Rent Reform Act of 2018: Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL) has drafted the Promoting Resident Opportunity through Rent Reform Act which implements cuts to federal rental assistance programs. Under the Ross bill, households receiving rental assistance would see their minimum rent payments increase significantly. The bill also establishes policies that would generate a cliff effect where households would lose portions of their rent assistance every two years regardless of their income level. Additionally, the Ross bill would provide state public housing authorities with more flexibility to institute rent increases or shallow benefits policies that could hurt recipients with limited federal oversight from HUD. 

Increased Rental Assistance via Tax Credits: Last week Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has introduced a rent relief bill (S. 3250) similar to a House proposal by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) (H.R. 3670) which would provide 13.3 million Americans with refundable tax credits to meet the high cost of rent across many of the nation's cities.  

House Tax Bill 2.0 Package: Today House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) unveiled a framework for a second round of tax legislation. The new version of the bill is set make permanent many of the temporary tax cuts detailed in the original tax bill such as the corporate tax rate, individual tax cuts and new retirement savings. The House is ultimately expected to vote on the revised bill (Tax Bill 2.0) in September, while the Senate is not expected to take up major tax legislation this year. Making tax cuts permanent in the Tax Bill 2.0 legislation would further threaten funding for many of the social programs RESULTS advocates for such as SNAP, Medicare or Medicaid. For more on RESULTS tax priorities, see our updated tax leave behind from lobby meetings last week.

You can find more information on these developments in the US Poverty Campaigns 2018 Tax and Housing Policy and Racial Wealth Inequality background packet.

Quick News

Conference Materials on RESULTS website. Whether you attended the Conference last week or not, materials from the sessions are now available on the Conference Resources page, including PowerPoint presentations, Laser Talks, and policy briefs. Use this information as you gear up for the August recess and beyond.

August 11 National Webinar Will Join Together U.S. and Global Poverty RESULTS Advocates. Join us for the August RESULTS National Webinar on Saturday, August 11 at 2:00 pm ET. This will be a joint webinar for all U.S. poverty and Global poverty advocates. On the webinar, we’ll recap this year’s Conference and look ahead to the fall with some in depth training on how to make poverty an issue in this year’s election. Please join us. Note that we will be using a new webinar platform for this webinar – Zoom. We’ll have details on how to access the webinar with Zoom in the coming weeks.

Trump Administration Announces the End of Poverty. Despite years of conservative attacks on anti-poverty programs for failing to end poverty, the Trump Administration is now switching tactics and claiming that the War on Poverty was so successful that the programs are no longer needed. We’re betting the more than 40 million people living below the poverty line and tens of millions more struggling just above it would disagree. Regardless of what the messaging is, the goal is clear – to cut, change, and dismantle anti-poverty programs. We must continue to remind lawmakers that while anti-poverty programs are successful at reducing poverty, we still have much work to do.

Support Moms, Champion Kids Spring Friends and Family Campaign Wrap Up.
Huge thank you to those who participated in the latest peer-to-peer fundraising campaign! Together you all raised over $27,000 from 184 donors – many of whom are brand new to the RESULTS family! This is support is critical to our work to end poverty. Thank you!

Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events. Also, find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

Upcoming U.S. Poverty staff time off: Meredith Dodson, August 4-19. Jos Linn, July 21-29, August 25-September 3.

U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, Tuesday, July 24 at 1:00pm and 8:00pm ET (rescheduled from earlier this month). Join at http://fuze.me/32256018 or dial (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.

House Recess, July 30-September 3. Use our online request to schedule meetings now.

Senate Recess, August 6-10. Use our online request to schedule meetings now.

RESULTS Joint U.S. and Global Poverty National Webinar, Saturday, August 11 at 2:00 pm ET. Participation info TBA.

Other Resources

Get Your RESULTS Promo Materials. If you need banners, pens, stickers, or business cards for your local RESULTS work, fill out our Materials Order Form and we’ll send them to you.

Got a Question for the RESULTS Board? If you have a question, comment, or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail Steven McGee at [email protected]. View published Board minutes on the RESULTS website, as well as our Annual Reports.

Please Fill Out the Lobby Report Form. After any lobby meeting, please fill out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form to let us know how it went. When you have a meeting where both U.S. and global poverty issues are discussed, please fill it out twice.

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