U.S. Poverty Weekly Update December 19, 2017
U.S. Poverty Campaigns
Weekly Update | December 19, 2017
“If no one speaks up, nothing changes.”
– RESULTS Snohomish, WA volunteer Willie Dickerson in a December 17 letter to the editor in the Bainbridge Island Review
RESULTS thanks you for your invaluable work and success in 2017. You have once again proven that Margaret Mead was right: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
All of us at RESULTS hope that you have a happy holiday season and we look forward to working with you to make great things happen in the new year.
(Note that all RESULTS offices will be closed December 23 – January 1; the next Weekly Update will be on January 2)
Got Two Minutes? Make One Last Call to Stop the Tax Bill
This is it. The House and Senate are hoping to pass their unpopular, unpaid-for, and unfair tax bill this week. And let’s be honest – it is likely to pass. When Sens. Corker (R-TN), Collins (R-ME) and Rubio (R-FL) all indicated they would support the bill last week, the last hurdle to passage seems to have fallen. That’s not a guarantee. The politics around this changes by the hour but most observers think that at this point, they have the voted to pass it.
So perhaps you’re asking yourself, why am I calling then? Isn’t it a waste of time? No! Making your voice heard is never a wasted effort. You don’t do this work because you want to win (or at least not solely for that reason). You do it because it is the right thing to do. And each time lawmakers see you persisting when the odds are against you, their resolve cracks a little and yours solidifies. This story is far from over – let them know that.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call both your senators at (888) 516-5820 and your representative at (877) 795-7862 and leave this message:
My name is ______________ and I am a constituent from ___________________. I am disappointed Congress is pushing through a dangerous tax bill that puts health and basic assistance programs at risk. I want Sen./Rep. ______________ to vote NO. This bill gives massive tax cuts to the rich and big corporations, while putting core services such as Medicaid and SNAP at risk of deep budget cuts. Please tell Sen./Rep. __________________ to oppose this bad tax bill and speak publicly against cuts to anti-poverty programs. Will you give him/her that message today?
Got Twenty Minutes? Lay the Groundwork for Protecting Programs in 2018 (December Action)
As noted above, Congress is on the verge of passing their massive tax cut bill in the next day or two. There has been lots of wheeling and dealing behind the scenes to cobble the votes needed to pass it, and although one part was improved upon for low-income Americans,* overall the bill is still a massive giveaway to the rich.
If the bill passes, it will certainly be a disappointment. But it’s important to remember, this is not over. They may succeed in cutting taxes but they are seriously mistaken if they think they can slash Medicaid, SNAP, and other anti-poverty programs to pay for them.
That fight starts now. When your members of Congress are home over the next few weeks, don’t let them open the paper without seeing letter after letter demanding they reject cutting anti-poverty programs to pay for tax cuts. When they return to Washington in January, you want them telling leadership that they cannot and will not support any such effort.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to take the December Action – submit a letter to the editor to your local paper urging your members of Congress to protect anti-poverty programs from any cuts. Congress must not use Medicaid, SNAP, and other assistance programs to pay for tax cuts for the rich. Use the template below to send a personalized letter to the editor and send to your local paper use our online tool (or go bigger with an op-ed or newspaper editorial):
It's clear who will benefit from the new tax plan in Washington: the rich. What we're hearing less about is who will pay the consequences – and that's hardworking, low-income Americans.
This year we've already seen attempts to gut essential programs like Medicaid and SNAP (formerly Food Stamps). So, after giving away $1.5 trillion in tax breaks to millionaires, those same critical programs will wind up back on the chopping block. With one in eight Americans below the poverty line, this is both bad public policy and just plain wrong. I am counting on our Congressional delegation to reject efforts to gut basic assistance to pay for tax breaks for the rich.
*Sen. Rubio improves Child Tax Credit. Late last week, Sen. Rubio announced his opposition to the tax bill because the Child Tax Credit changes did little to help low-income working families. Prior to this, the bill expanded the CTC so couples making up to $500,000 could get the full credit (up from $110,000) and increased the credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. However, the lowest income families (those making less than $2,500 per year) remained ineligible for the CTC and the $1,000 increase was non-refundable. This means that only wealthier families would substantially benefit from the changes. As a result of Sen. Rubio’s stance, the bill now makes $400 of the $1,000 increase refundable (and reduced eligibility for the full credit to $400,000 per couple). This is certainly an improvement but 10 million of the lowest income children will only get $75 or less and another 14 million moderate-income children will get less than the full credit (meanwhile, a couple making $400,000 per year gets the full $2,000 per child compared to $0 under current law).
RESULTS Expert on Poverty Raising Their Voices for Change. Thank you to our fabulous Experts on Poverty in their amazing work in 2017 by putting the real face of poverty in the U.S. front and center before lawmakers, the media, and their communities. Yolanda McCloud (SC), Asia Bijan Thompson (PA), and Qiana Torregano (LA) have recently held or will be holding trainings in their communities to help inspire others into action. Dawn Pierce (ID) just recorded a powerful video for Mic about the misconceptions about and the importance of SNAP (formerly food stamps). Finally, Pamela Covington (VA) will be speaking at the 2018 Women’s Empowerment Seminar in Norfolk, VA in January. She has recorded a new video outlining the event and why you should attend (along with this great video with her local food bank). Congratulations to these and all our other Experts in raising their voices for change!
RESULTS for the International Conference. Registration for the 2018 RESULTS International Conference is now open. The Conference is July 14-17 in Washington, DC. It promises to be a great experience for all who attend. Don’t wait – register now for the 2018 Conference at www.resultsconference.org.
Staff Vacations: Meredith Dodson, December 21-January 1. Jos Linn, December 21-January 7. Kristy Martino, December 23-January 1.
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: December 22, 2017-January 1, 2018 (this is subject to change).
U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, Tuesday, December 19 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. To participate, login at http://fuze.me/32256018 or dial by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.
RESULTS Holiday Break, December 23-January 1. All RESULTS office closed.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, Tuesday, January 9 at 8:00 pm ET. Participate at http://fuze.me/32255914 or (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#.
Louisiana Storytelling & Advocacy Training Session, Saturday, January 13 at 5:00pm CT. Women Resource Center, 1221 Truxton Street, Gretna, LA. Featuring RESULTS Expert of Poverty Qiana Torregano. For more information, contact Meredith Dodson.
Iowa (Des Moines) Presentation on Poverty and Young Children, Monday, January 29, 2018 at 6:30pm CT. Franklin Avenue Library, 5000 Franklin Ave, Des Moines, IA. More details soon. Contact Jos Linn for more information.
Iowa (Iowa City) Presentation on Poverty and Young Children, Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 6:30pm CT. St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 2675 E. Washington Street, Iowa City, IA. More details soon. Contact Jos Linn for more information.
If you have a question, comment or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail them to RESULTS Grassroots Board Member Steven McGee at [email protected]. You can view the most recently published minutes from Board meetings on the RESULTS website, as well as download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report.