U.S. Poverty Weekly Update December 16, 2014
U.S. Poverty Campaigns
Weekly Update | December 16, 2014
"It is unconscionable that Congress wrangles over tax breaks for corporations and does not, instead, rush to make permanent the improvements to the earned taxed credit and the child tax credit."
— RESULTS St. Louis volunteer Susan Kelley in a December 8 letter to the editor in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
New and Urgent in This Week's Update
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Our Annual Fundraising Campaign will come to a close very soon! Our goal is to raise $50,000 by the end of the year. Your gifts provide much-needed funding to provide our volunteers with training and support for their world-class advocacy, as well as ensure we continue to expand our presence and impact. We’re grateful for any and all gifts you give. You can give online by visiting www.results.org/donate.
AND for two more weeks, your donation will be matched! For every two dollars you donate to RESULTS or RESULTS Educational Fund by the end of this year, a generous supporter will donate an additional dollar to RESULTS, up to $50,000. Please donate today and help us unlock these generous funds!
Finally, as 2014 comes to a close, we want to thank the many volunteers who committed their time to fundraising this year. Whether you assisted with a large scale event, hosted a house party, or participated in a Friends and Family campaign, your work did not go unnoticed. We are incredibly grateful for each and every one of you and your continued commitment to RESULTS.
We look forward to engaging in more fantastic events and campaigns with you in 2015!
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to make your donation to RESULTS and/or RESULTS Educational Fund today! Take advantage of our matching campaign, where any donation you make through the end of this year will be partially matched up to $50,000 total. Go to our Donation page now to make your contribution today. Also, please consider becoming a monthly sponsor; you can spread your donation out over the year and ensure a steady stream of financial support for our work.
Got Ten Minutes? Give Tax Aides a Holiday Wish – Protect Families Getting the EITC and CTC (December Action)
Congress will likely wrap its work for the year sometime this week. The House has already adjourned and the Senate will finish its work in the next few days. One of the final items on the agenda is passing a much smaller version of a tax extenders bill. While this bill does not make business tax breaks permanent, it is still $40 billion in these business tax breaks. Instead of giving corporate America tax breaks on business decisions it has already made (this bill only applies to tax year 2014), shouldn’t Congress instead focus on helping working families who get the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC)? These are hard-working Americans who face a steep tax increase in 2017 if Congress continues to put the interests of the rich and powerful ahead of low-income families.
As Congress gets set to leave for the year and spend time with their families this holiday season, call the tax aides in your House and Senate offices and remind them that many families will not have a happy holiday this year. Tell them that these families will have to spend their holiday money on heat, rent, gas, and food. Explain to them that Congress can give these families a break by making the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements permanent its first order of business in 2015.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes call the tax aide in your House and Senate offices and urge them to tell their bosses to stand behind working families who receive the EITC and CTC. Tell them you are very frustrated that Congress continues to put the needs of corporations and business ahead of children and families. Urge them to do the right thing and make the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements permanent. The December Action has talking points and background information to help you with your calls and you can find the names of tax aides under the Staff tab on our Elected Officials page. If you have questions about the action or your calls, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]).
If you are not calling an aide, call the receptionists for your House and Senate offices telling them to protect the EITC and CTC (you can also send an e-mail). Below is a script you can use; you can also send this out to your local Action Networks urging them to take action too:
Last month Congressional leaders tried to push forward a tax package that would have made a number of business tax credits permanent while leaving low-income families in the cold. This deal fell apart, but it was a reminder that we have to keep the pressure on members of Congress to protect Americans struggling in poverty. Join me using the RESULTS online alert to tell Congress to make protecting low-income working families who get the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) a priority.
As noted above, Congress will soon be done for the year and on vacation. However, as we discussed on last Saturday’s RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 2015 promises to be a busy and important year. With new leadership in the Senate, we expect more attempts to roll back the safety net, putting important programs like the EITC, CTC, and SNAP (formerly food stamps) at risk. We will have to be vigilant from the get-go in educating lawmakers on the importance of these programs and pushing back against attempts to undermine them. The best way to send that message is to meet with them face-to-face as soon as possible.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to submit face-to-face meeting requests for early 2015. Find the scheduler names for your House and Senate members on our Elected Officials page and call or e-mail them with a request for a meeting. Use our online form to write your request letter. If you have a new member of Congress starting in 2015, start with their campaign website to find their contact information. They may not have staff yet, but be persistent in requesting a meeting. If you need help with scheduling meetings, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]). Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to help you prepare and share resources for your meeting.
Get Ready for Group Planning in January. All RESULTS groups will do group plan in January. Like last year, we will spend time on the January 2015 National Conference Call doing planning. The call is Saturday, January 10 at 12:30pm ET. Set a place for your group to listen to the call and do planning on January 10. Schedule yourself plenty of time to finish your planning that day. Do your best to have everyone in your group present or at least make sure anyone absent can share their 2015 planning ideas with your group leader before that call. We will have our 2015 Group Planning materials available on the RESULTS Group Resources page and more information about group planning soon.
Last week, it seemed that Congress might be on the cusp of another government shutdown. As seems the normal course of business these days, Congress waited until the last possible minute to avert another crisis and passed the so-called “CRominbus” over the weekend. The CRomnibus – called as such because it is part omnibus spending bill, part continuing resolution – was a mixed bag of good, bad, and ugly. On the somewhat good side, the bill includes a $75 million increase in funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and it keeps Head Start, Early Head Start, and Preschool Development Grants at FY2014 funding levels. While this is good because it did not involve any cuts, it also was not what we’d hoped to get ($300 million increase for CCDBG, a $271 million increase for e Head Start and Early Head Start, and a $100 million increase for preschool).
As for the bad, the bill also included provisions to include white potatoes in the WIC diet, something RESULTS volunteers opposed earlier this year. The bill also waters down new school breakfast and lunch standards that were being implemented to improve child health and reduce obesity.
Now the ugly. The bill includes extraneous provisions that were more giveaways to wealthy corporate interests, including a rollback of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, which would now allow banks to make risky investments with taxpayer money, and a further loosening of campaign finance laws. The bill also further cuts the IRS’ budget, which is already underfunded, making it harder for the agency to enforce the nation’s tax laws (remember that hundreds of billions of tax dollars go uncollected each year).
While we are happy that a shutdown was averted and Congress did at least maintain investments for early learning, this process of waiting until the last minute to do their work and using these artificial deadlines to enact bad law in must-pass legislation is ridiculous. When you meet with your members of Congress in 2015, be sure to tell them your frustrations at this modus operandi and that you expect them to do their job much better.
TAKE ACTION: Show your support for early childhood programs by sending an e-mail to Congress thanking them for funding Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care in the CRominbus and urge them to increase those investments next year. To learn more about child care in your state, our friends at the National Women’s Law Center have created new fact sheets about child care policies in all 50 states. You can also learn more about early learning investments at https://investinus.org/, which was launched in conjunction with last week’s White House Summit on Early Education.
Last Saturday’s RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call was a look back and a look forward for our U.S. Poverty work. We spent time on the call reviewing the great successes you achieved in 2014 and looked ahead to our important work in 2015. With the new Congress, we expect it to be a busy year and your amazing advocacy will be needed more than ever.
On the call, we discussed our proposed 2015 U.S. Poverty Legislative Campaigns. These proposals are still subject to RESULTS Board approval but we anticipate that we’ll have two main campaigns next year. First, we will continue our multi-year Economic Mobility campaign, focusing on protecting and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). With corporate tax reform possibly on the table in 2015, we will have the chance to push Congress hard to include tax policy that helps working families. Furthermore, Congress could use the FY2016 budget process to make structural changes to the EITC and CTC; we will have to be ready to oppose bad changes to these important tax credits. We will also use this campaign to educate lawmakers about the wealth gap, and in particular the racial wealth gap, and the need to enact policies that remedy this injustice.
Our second campaign is likely to focus on nutrition policy. As seems to be the case each year, the new Congress is likely to target the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for cuts and structural changes. They could also cut SNAP to pay for other things, such as child nutrition programs (they did this back in 2010). We will have to be ready to oppose these efforts if and when they arise.
To keep the pressure on Congress to protect and expand programs that reduce poverty in America, we have a number of grassroots goals to make that happen. Below is a chart listed the great things you achieved this year and the goals we have for 2015.
Thank you again for your great work in 2014. You have a lot to be proud of. We look forward to working with all of you to accomplish bigger and better things in 2015!
To listen and read more about our 2014 successes and 2015 plans, go to the conference call resources on the RESULTS website to find the recording, summary, and slides for the call.
Last Friday and Saturday, RESULTS Director of US Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson met with community activists to start a new RESULTS group in Ypsilanti, MI. In addition, RESULTS Michigan volunteers, Meredith, and new Global Expansion Manager Drew Ullman presented to the NAACP Michigan State Conference on Saturday, providing them information on advocacy and how to get involved with RESULTS. This new RESULTS group will begin their training process tonight (Tuesday, December 16) at 9:00 pm ET. If you know of anyone who would be interested in participating in the Detroit/Dearborn/Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area, contact Meredith ([email protected]) and urge them to join the call at: (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
In addition, U.S. Poverty Organizer Kristy Martino is working with new RESULTS chapters in Birmingham, AL, and Atlanta, GA with plans to travel to North Carolina in 2015 to meet with people interested in starting new RESULTS chapter(s) there. RESULTS staff are also focused on building our grassroots network in UT, OR, NV, WI, WY, and AK, which are strategic states for our campaign work.
As you address holiday cards, think about inviting people you know in these communities to learn more about RESULTS – either through a direct phone call with you, connecting them via email with Meredith, or inviting them to participate in an upcoming Introductory Call. The next call (and last one of 2014) is this Friday, December 19 at 1:00 pm ET. People can register for this or another upcoming Intro call on the RESULTS website.
Finally, the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents will be having their final support call of 2014 today, December 16 at 9:00 pm ET. If you want support in taking action but live in an area with no active U.S. Poverty group, join the Free Agents. The call-in number is (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096. If you have questions about the Free Agents group, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
Nicholas Kristof to Speak on February Conference Call. We are excited to announce that our February 2015 Conference Call guest will be Nicholas Kristof, author and respected columnist for the New York Times. In his recent book, A Path Appears, he highlights the work of RESULTS and has repeatedly urged people to get involved with our work. This will be a joint call with our global poverty volunteers and we will use this event as an opportunity to invite new people to get involved with RESULTS. We’ll have more details for you after the holidays but for now, save the date – Saturday, February 14 at 2:00pm ET.
Congratulations on a Great Media Ending to 2014! Thank you to everyone who submitted letters to the editor in November and December about protecting the EITC and CTC and other poverty issues. To date, you’ve gotten 28 media pieces published since November 1 (24 letters to the editor, 2 op-eds, and 2 radio interviews). Congress is likely to look at tax policy in 2015 so tell them now to put working families first. Use our online media alert to send a letter to the editor to your local paper today, telling your members of Congress to make the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent. Once you get published, be sure to send a copy of your letter to the tax aides for your members of Congress. Please let us know too (send links to your letters to Jos Linn at [email protected]).
Contact Grassroots Board Members with Your Questions. If you have questions or suggestions for the RESULTS Board, please contact Grassroots Board Member Lydia Pendley at [email protected].
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House is on recess until January 5; Senate will adjourn this week and also return in January. Request face-to-face meetings.
Tuesday, December 16: U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET. (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096.
Friday, December 19: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register at: https://results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/#Introductory%20Call.
Thursday, December 25 – Thursday, January 1: All RESULTS offices closed for holiday break. RESULTS U.S. Poverty Staff will be off December 20 – January 4.
Saturday, January 10: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Saturday, July 18 – Tuesday, July 21, 2015: RESULTS International Conference, Washington Court Hotel, Washington, DC. Details coming soon!
Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:
The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via email to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our U.S. poverty campaigns.
RESULTS Wishes You and Yours a Very Happy Holiday!
Because of staff vacation for the holidays, this will be the last U.S. Poverty Weekly Update of 2014. Note that RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff will be on vacation December 20 – January 4 and all RESULTS offices will be closed December 25 – January 1.