U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 28, 2018

August 28, 2018

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | August 28, 2018

“It is wonderful that the schools are doing something to care for their low-income students, but I think that we all need to make sure that Congress thinks about those families too and passes a bipartisan version of the farm bill so families like these don't lose their much needed benefits.”

– RESULTS Fargo, ND REAL Change Fellow Shania Hartmann in an August 7 letter to the editor in Inforum

Got Two Minutes? Make the Last Week of the Recess Count (August Action)

The House and Senate will return to work in DC next week. When they return, work on SNAP and the farm bill will resume quickly. The full farm bill conference committee will meet on Wednesday, September 5 at 9:30 am ET for their first official gathering — though negotiations between the principles (Sens Roberts and Stabenow and Reps. Conaway and Peterson) have already begun as they work to secure a deal before the current farm bill expires on September 30.

Therefore, we want to make this week count so that when lawmakers go back to Washington, they’ve heard the message loud and clear – the farm bill must protect food assistance (SNAP).

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send an e-mail to you group and divide up these tasks for the final week of the recess:

  1. Town Halls and Events. Have point persons for members of Congress contact House and Senate schedulers, check www.townhallproject.com, and visit candidate websites for any last-minute town halls or other events in your area. Remember, state fairs and Labor Day parades are a good place to spot lawmakers and candidates. The August Action has tools to help.
  2. Contact Ag Aides. Complete any unfinished follow-up with your House and Senate Agriculture aides urging their bosses to tell farm bill negotiators that the final farm bill’s SNAP provisions should look like the Senate version (for language, see the Got Ten Minutes section from last week’s Update).
  3. Submit a Letter to the Editor. Have media point persons send a letter to the editor reminding your members of Congress by name to only support a final farm bill that is bipartisan and protects SNAP – ideally so policymakers read it while they are still home. Possible hooks: back to school media coverage or articles about the new Urban Institute report that even amid an improving economy, ~40 percent of adults reported trouble meeting a basic need in 2017.

Got Ten Minutes? Invite Action Network Members to Next Week’s National Webinar

After a varied schedule over the summer, the U.S. Poverty National Webinar returns to its regular time slot (the first Tuesday of the month) next Tuesday, September 4 at 8:00 pm ET. This will be one of our most important webinars of the year. Congress returns to work next week and one of the first items on the agenda will be the farm bill. In addition, the U.S. Census will release its annual poverty data on September 12. Next month, we’ll use these facts to generate media to protect SNAP and other assistance programs using the poverty data and other local coverage as a “hook”. We are pleased to welcome Jerry Large, former columnist for the Seattle Times and 2017 RESULTS Cameron Duncan Media Award winner, to share his insights on writing and submitting media pieces to your local papers in an election year.

September is likely to be the most active month in Congress until the election. Use that to your advantage by confirming group members and inviting people in your local Action Network to join next Tuesday’s webinar. Invite them to join us for this important gathering to learn what they can do to make a difference on poverty in America.*

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to invite people in your local Action Network to join you on next week’s National Webinar and/or other September meetings. Here is a sample e-mail you can send them:

Dear RESULTS friends,

September is going to be a vital month in the fight against poverty in America. Our members of Congress will be working to finalize a new farm bill which could take food assistance away from 2 million Americans. As always, RESULTS will be right in the thick of things, this time using the media to influence lawmakers and inspire others into action. I would like for you to join me by attending the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar.

On the webinar, you’ll learn the latest on SNAP, hear about new poverty data coming out later in the month, and learn media tips from a recently retired newspaper columnist. I think you’ll find it interesting and informative. The webinar is next Tuesday, September 4 at 8:00 pm ET. You can join at https://results.zoom.us/j/873308801 or dial (929) 436-2866, Meeting ID: 873 308 801. Or if you prefer, our local RESULTS group will be meeting at _________________________ to listen to the webinar. You are welcomed to join us.

Are you able to join the webinar?

*If you don’t have an Action Network in your local area, please join the RESULTS Action Network Community of Practice. An Action Network is a loosely organized band of community-based advocates and supporters connected to a RESULTS group or chapter. As Action Network members learn that their voice matters, they are the most likely candidates for joining groups. The new Action Network Community of Practice will work together to identify the best ways to recruit, organize, manage, and inspire our local Action Networks. Join us for our first webinar on Wednesday, September 5 at 8:30pm ET. To join, log in: https://results.zoom.us/j/427674133 or dial in: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 427 674 133.

Got Twenty Minutes? Get Ready for New Assault on Low-Income Immigrants

Turning our eyes to another important issue for low-income families, at any time now, the Trump administration plans to release a proposed new rule that could have a devastating impact on immigrants in or wanting to come to the U.S.

Right now, when someone applies to come to the U.S., or seeks change their immigration status after arriving, officials make a determination about whether this person could become a “public charge,” i.e. someone who will likely become primarily dependent on government assistance. If someone is deemed a public charge, their application can be denied. Receipt of cash assistance (e.g. TANF funds) and long-term care under Medicaid are used to determine if one is a public charge.

Under the new rule (the final version has not been released but a leaked version came out this spring), a person or anyone in their immediate family who merely receives assistance could be deemed a public charge. The programs considered would be expanded to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), housing subsidies, subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, SNAP (food stamps), WIC, and others. Since undocumented immigrants do not qualify for public assistance, this new rule is targeted at legally residing residents in the U.S.

The impact of this rule could be devastating. Current immigrants and their families who receive benefits, even for a short time, could be denied permanent legal status and others applying to come to the U.S. could be denied. Many immigrants are coming to the U.S. with almost nothing and when they do find work, they are usually paid less than native-born Americans. But under the new rule, families living in poverty would avoid seeking assistance to avoid being designated a public charge, thus exposing themselves and their children to deeper poverty. These are people simply looking for a better life. They contribute tens of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy; they pay taxes. They should not be forced to choose between poverty and deportation.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to review the resources from the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign and sign your local group onto this letter opposing the new rule. Note that because the rule has yet to be released, some of the wording is incomplete. Once the rule is released, the letter will be updated and sent. In addition, when the rule is made public, there will be a public comment period before it is finalized. We must generate as many negative comments as possible. RESULTS will send out an action alert showing you where to submit your comments and provide a template letter to the editor opposing the rule. To learn more on this issue, sign up for this Public Charge 101 webinar on September 5 at 2:00 pm ET (be sure to check out the Creating Change Through Story Advocacy webinar the next day if you are interested).

Quick News

RESULTS is Growing – Who Do You Know? RESULTS staff and grassroots leaders are doing great work to build our U.S. poverty presence in new and strategic communities, including Atlanta, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando, Charlotte/Rock Hill, Little Rock, and Honolulu. If you are new to RESULTS, know someone new to RESULTS, or want to become a RESULTS advocate, please join us for our New Advocate Orientation! During this 60-minute live webinar, you'll interact with RESULTS staff and other new volunteers, learn more about our advocacy model and issues and get information on how to take action and get connected locally. Sign up here.

Join 2017 Census Data Webinar. Get a preview of what we might see in the new Census data from our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and FRAC. The webinar is Thursday, September 6 at 2:00 pm ET. Register today!

Join Anti-Oppression Webinar on September 13. Please join us on September 13 for an anti-oppression webinar to openly discuss ways we as anti-poverty advocates can better support our communities. We’ll go over why anti-oppression work matters for our advocacy, discuss methods of responding to oppressive behavior using the new RESULTS Call-in/Call-out Guide, and provide an open space for sharing our experiences and learning from one another. The webinar is Thursday, September 13 at 9:00 pm ET. To join, login at: https://results.zoom.us/j/292298302 or dial (669) 900 6833, Meeting ID: 292 298 302.

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: Jos Linn, August 25-September 3.

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

Labor Day, Monday, September 3. All RESULTS offices closed.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, Tuesday, September 4 at 8:00 pm ET. Join at: https://results.zoom.us/j/873308801 or dial (929) 436-2866 or (669) 900-6833, Meeting ID: 873 308 801.

Join the RESULTS Action Network Community of Practice, Wednesday, September 5 at 8:30pm ET. To join, log in: https://results.zoom.us/j/427674133 or dial in: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 427 674 133.

RESULTS New Advocate Orientation, Thursday, September 13 at 8:30 pm ET and Friday, September 28 at 1:00 pm ET. Learn more here.

Anti-Oppression Webinar: Call-in/Call-out Training, Thursday September 13 at 9:00 pm ET. To join, login at: https://results.zoom.us/j/292298302 or dial (669) 900 6833, Meeting ID: 292 298 302.

U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, Tuesday, September 18 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. Join at: https://results.zoom.us/j/324294681 or dial by phone at (929) 436-2866 or (669) 900-6833, Meeting ID: 324 294 681.

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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