U.S. Poverty Weekly Update April 7, 2015

April 7, 2015

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | April 7, 2015

“The simple fact is that if SNAP were a corporate program, Congress would be holding it up as a model of effectiveness and efficiency.”

– RESULTS Bernardsville (NJ) volunteer Susan Rack in a March 28 letter to the editor in the Newark Star-Ledger

 “We'll see what happens to the House's "patriotic" budget.”

– RESULTS Des Moines volunteer Judy Zobel in an April 1 letter to the editor in Des Moines Register

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Use the Media to Help Protect SNAP

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Get Ready for the RESULTS National Meeting This Saturday at 12:30pm ET

Please join us this Saturday, April 11 at 12:30 pm ET for the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Meeting. We are pleased to have Rebecca Lenn, Director of Outreach at Media Matters, as our guest speaker. Media Matters has developed some helpful tips and tools for responding to misinformation about programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in the media. Rebecca will show us what techniques we can use in our media work this month to push back at these attempts to attack SNAP. We’ll also spend time talking about the April Action and how you can use the media Congress to protect SNAP. We hope you will join us.

We are again using Fuze Meeting for this call, just as we did last month. Please read carefully the instructions below as to how to login online or call in using your phone.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Meeting this Saturday, April 11 at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. To join the meeting, login at http://fuze.me/28130766. If you cannot join online, you can join via phone by calling (201) 479-4595 and entering meeting ID: 28130766 when prompted. Plan to log in or call in no later than 12:25 pm ET. If you have questions about Fuze or how to log in, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Also, we believe we have resolved the issue of the scrolling slides from last month’s call. However, to be safe, we urge you to download the slides yourself so you can scroll through them at your own pace just in case we have problems again. We will have the slides available later this week on the RESULTS Home Page in the “Take Action” box in the top right-hand corner.

Got Ten Minutes? Keep Generating Media to Protect SNAP (April Action)

Thank you to everyone who has already submitted letters to the editor and op-eds to your local paper about protecting SNAP. Your efforts are paying off. Since March 1, RESULTS volunteers have gotten 19 media pieces published about SNAP. Congratulations! At this pace, we could easily hit 30 by the end of April. This is an important time to be sending in your letters and op-eds. Members of Congress will return to DC next week to finalize a budget resolution. If they keep seeing letters or op-eds in their local paper urging them to protect SNAP, they are more likely to keep cuts – or fast-track authority to enact cuts – out of the final budget. Remember, these proposed cuts could force more than ten million people off SNAP or cut benefits for each person by $55 per month. Lawmakers need to know that constituents are paying close attention to and will hold them accountable for to their actions. Getting letters and op-eds published calling on them by name to protect SNAP is a good way to get their attention.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to draft a powerful letter to the editor or op-ed telling your members of Congress by name to protect SNAP in the 2016 budget. Use April Action to help you with what to say. Send in your letters today so they see them in print before heading back to Washington. Here are some resources to help you with your media outreach:

Find media outlets in your state using our Media Guide. If you’re not sure what to write, use our SNAP LTE alert to send your letter today (to increase your chances of getting published, copy and paste the online letter and send it via your personal e-mail or paste it into your paper’s website form). Also, we have a new SNAP media brief you can use to send editorial writers if you’d like to request them write an editorial on protecting SNAP. For questions about the brief or any other questions about generating media this month, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for assistance.

Got Twenty Minutes? Last Week of Recess: Meet with Lawmakers about Poverty in America

This is the last week of the spring recess, which means we only have a few days left before members of Congress return to DC to finish the 2016 budget resolution. Meeting face-to-face with your representatives and senators this week can help influence what that budget will look like. RESULTS groups in Iowa, Indiana, Maine, and Washington State had face-to-face meetings last week urging lawmakers to protect SNAP; hopefully we can get more in this week. If you’re not able to secure a sit-down meeting with your group, asking a question at a town hall is the next best thing. A town hall has the benefit of getting your lawmaker to publicly state his/her position on the issue and it gives you the opportunity to educate the public about the importance of SNAP.

As you work to prepare for meetings and town halls, plan to use stories to illustrate the point you are trying to make. Stories are a powerful tool in advocacy and make the difference between a lawmaker remembering what you discussed and not (stories have been found to be 22 times more memorable than facts alone). This recent piece in the Washington Post is an excellent example of demonstrating the power of story, as the author describes the indignities she suffers daily by being low-income. It’s stories like hers that help educate minds and open hearts. If you have people in your group or know others in your community who have a powerful story, invite them to be a part of your meetings and share (or incorporate their story into a question at a town hall).

TAKE ACTION: To twenty minutes to contact your House and Senate schedulers to see if you can schedule any last minutes meetings this week with your members of Congress or attend town halls they are doing. You can find contact information on our Elected Officials page. See our Activist Toolkit for guides in meeting with members of Congress and making the most of town hall meetings. Once you get a meeting or town hall confirmed, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) ASAP for coaching on specific requests for your meeting. Be sure to bring copies of our SNAP and Tax Credit Lobby Meeting requests to these events. After you’ve had a meeting, be sure to fill out our 2015 Lobby Report Form.

Join NPP Webinar to Learn Where Your Taxes Go

Tax Day 2015 is only eight days away. Do you know where your tax dollars go? Our friends at the National Priorities Project (NPP) want to show you. This Thursday, April 9 at 2:00 pm ET, NPP will host webinar to show you where your tax dollars went last year, how your tax dollars contribute to your community, and how they benefit everyone from the very wealthy to the very low-income. NPP spoke on our March National Meeting and their information is always informative and interesting. You can learn more about the webinar and how to register on the NPP website.

Speaking of taxes, have your members of Congress co-sponsored the new Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) legislation in Congress? H.R. 902, the Earned Income Tax Credit Improvement and Simplification Act, would make important improvements to the EITC permanent and also expand the EITC for workers without children in the home (see current co-sponsors here). Meanwhile, H.R. 1286 would make improvements to the CTC permanent (see current co-sponsors here). If these EITC and CTC improvements expire, 16 million Americans will fall into or deeper into poverty. We also are hoping that the Senate’s Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2015 will be introduced soon, which would essentially do the same thing as the House bills together. As you meet with members of Congress this week, be sure to ask House and Senate members to co-sponsor these important pieces of legislation. You can also send an e-mail message asking for their support for expanding economic mobility in America.

Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events.

Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: March 28-April 12. Request face-to-face meetings.

RESULTS Introductory Call, April 8 at 9:00 pm ET. If you are new to RESULTS, learn more about our work by joining our next RESULTS Intro Call. Register for an upcoming call on the RESULTS website.

Group Start in Colorado Springs, April 9 at 6:00 pm MT. Join and invite others to attend this community outreach event to start a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty group in Colorado Springs, CO. The event is 6:00 – 8:00 pm MT at Old Colorado City Library, Meeting Room, 2418 West Pikes Peak Ave, Colorado Springs, CO. Contact Kristy Martino at [email protected] for details.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Meeting, April 11 at 12:30 pm ET. Guest speaker: Rebecca Lenn of Media Matters. To join the meeting, login at http://fuze.me/28130766. If joining by phone, dial (201) 479-4595 and enter meeting ID: 28130766 when prompted.

Webinar: Why You Should Attend the RESULTS International Conference, April 16 at 8:00pm ET (repeated on April 17 at 1:00 pm ET). Join this preview of the RESULTS International Conference and why you should come. Join online at http://fuze.me/28157166 or by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID 28157166.

Attend the RESULTS International Conference, July 18-21. Join us for the RESULTS International Conference at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. This is the biggest event of the year for RESULTS. Register TODAY!

Find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

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