U.S. Poverty Weekly Update December 2, 2014
U.S. Poverty Campaigns
Weekly Update | December 2, 2014
“It is so easy to work on behalf of large campaign donors, but there is a silent group of Americans who should not to be left out, the working poor.”
— RESULTS Houston volunteer Kathleen Duncan in a November 27 letter to the editor in the Houston Chronicle
New and Urgent in This Week's Update
Latest from Washington, DC
Quick Action for the Week: Donate to RESULTS on This Giving Tuesday!
Today is Giving Tuesday! Take some of that money you did not spend on Black Friday or Cyber Monday and use it to help RESULTS end poverty around the world. Your donations to RESULTS make the work we do possible. Quite simply, we would not be here if it were not for your contributions – and the contributions of others – to RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund. If you want to see the good your money creates, see the RESULTS Annual Appeal page and read our brand new 2013 Annual Report highlighting RESULTS extraordinary work in 2013.
And if you donate now, you can double the impact. Through a generous donation from an anonymous donor, every dollar you donate to RESULTS or RESULTS Ed Fund before December 31 will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000. What a great way to maximize your gift today!
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to visit the RESULTS Donate page and make your contribution to RESULTS and/or RESULTS Educational Fund TODAY. Use Giving Tuesday to send a gift this holiday season that can change the world!
Also, if you use Amazon.com to shop for gifts, please first visit Smile.Amazon.com and choose RESULTS Educational Fund as your charity of choice. By doing so, REF will receive a portion of sales. Amazon will also remember your charity choice and direct you to Smile.Amazon.com for future purchases.
Got Ten Minutes? Read the December Action and Contact Tax Aides to Talk about the EITC and CTC (December Action)
Building on our media success from last month, we will spend December working to ensure Congress puts working families first in any new tax legislation. To do so, we urge you to reconnect with tax aides in the House and Senate and tell them to make the 2009 improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) permanent. Just last week, we got a stark reminder of how important your advocacy is on this issue. Right before Thanksgiving, Capitol Hill was buzzing about a new tax extenders bill being negotiated between House and Senate leaders. The bill would have made a number of business tax credits permanent, including the research and experimentation credit (the R&E credit alone would cost $151 billion over the next ten years). Other business tax credits would have been extended for another year. All-in-all, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the bill would cost $409 billion over the next ten years, adding all of that cost to the deficit, while doing nothing to make the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent. This bill was yet another example of Congress’ misguided tax priorities.
Sadly, this terrible bill had bipartisan support. Fortunately, one person did not support it – President Obama. When the White House learned of the plan, it quickly threatened to veto the bill if it passed. Thankfully, the veto threat killed this bill (Democrats in the House and Senate vowed to oppose any attempts to override the veto). It now appears that Congress will do a one-year extension of the business tax credits, which expired last December, so businesses can claim them for tax year 2014. To make sure Congress does not forget low-income families next time a large tax bill come up, contact tax aides this month and remind them that working families should come first in tax reform.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to read the December 2014 U.S. Poverty Action (it will be available later this week). Read about the latest on tax legislation in Congress and the importance of talking to tax aides about the EITC and CTC. The Action sheet has talking points and tips to help you in your calls to these aides. Once you’ve read the Action, e-mail the tax aides in your House and Senate offices asking to schedule a time to talk with them about the EITC and CTC. 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]).
As noted above, Congress is still trying to finalize a tax extenders bill, after a bad tax bill was killed last week by President Obama’s veto threat. For Congress to consider adding over $400 billion to the deficit for provisions primarily benefitting wealthy corporations and industries while ignoring the needs of working families is unconscionable. Thankfully, President Obama and liberal Democrats refused to go along and the deal was scuttled. According to the Washington Post, one of the sticking points that killed the bill was the failure to make the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent.
While Congress may pass a one-year extension of these business tax credits, it seems that a bigger fight awaits in 2015 over tax reform. Encouragingly, current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that he will not support any major tax reform that fails to include extensions of the EITC and CTC improvements. That support along with the President standing firm on this issue for the moment could open the door to meaningful compromise on tax reform next year.
To maintain support for the EITC and CTC, we must remind members of Congress that constituents care about the families who receive these credits. Talking to the tax aides in your House and Senate offices is an important way to get your message to your elected leaders and keep the pressure on them to make the EITC and CTC improvements permanent.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to contact tax aides in your representatives and senators offices about protecting the EITC and CTC. Use the December Action (available later this week) for talking points and background information for your calls. Check in to see what they know about upcoming tax legislation and urge them to push their bosses to include a permanent extension of the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements in any new tax legislation. You can find aide names and contact information on our Elected Officials page. The point persons for each member of Congress your group covers should make these calls. Others in your group should supplement these calls by sending an e-mail about the EITC and CTC using our online action alert. If you have questions or need coaching for your calls, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]).
Last month, RESULTS volunteers submitted letters to the editor to their local papers reminding readers and members of Congress about the importance of the EITC and CTC to millions of working families. Because of your tenaciousness and talent, RESULTS volunteers got 18 media pieces published in November, which brings our annual total up to 109 media pieces generated. Here is a list of our November successes:
Thank you to everyone who submitted letters last month and congratulations to those who got published. But there’s no need to stop now. The future of the EITC and CTC are still very much up in the air. Keep educating your members of Congress and your community about the importance of tax credits for working families by submitting your letter today.
TAKE ACTION: Use the November Action or our online e-mail 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. If you submitted a letter already and did not get published, try again with a new one or send your letter to another paper in your state. You can find media outlets in our Media Guide. Once you do get published, be sure to send a copy of your letter to the tax aides for your members of Congress. If you need help with your letter, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
New Reports Shed New Light on Poverty. Our friends at Half In Ten and OxFam America have released some new reports highlighting poverty in America. Half in Ten’s report is its newest Annual Poverty and Inequality Indicators Report. The report looks at 21 indicators of economic security and opportunity to see where Half in Ten is on their goal of cutting poverty in half within ten years. In addition, OxFam America and Feeding America have teamed up for a report highlighting the fight millions of Americans face each day to put food on the table. Their report, From Paycheck to Pantry: Hunger in Working America, shows that 51 percent of food assistance households had at least one person working in the last year but 89 percent of these working households reported income of less than $30,000 per year. What these reports demonstrate is that while we have made progress in reducing poverty over the years, there are still far too many Americans struggling to make ends meet. When talking with tax aides this month, be sure to highlight some of the key facts you find in these reports and send them links to the reports in your follow-up.
RESULTS Legend Highlighted in Nicholas Kristof Blog. RESULTS’ own Bob Dickerson (RESULTS Seattle), one of the longest-standing and most revered volunteers in our network, was highlighted recently in columnist Nicholas Kristof’s NY Times “On the Ground” Blog. Bob’s post, “Death Without Regrets,” talks about how his bout with cancer motivated him to join RESULTS and take up the cause of ending poverty around the world. It is a powerful and moving piece from an advocate who has inspired countless people over the years. We encourage you to read it, share it with others you know, and urge them to join Bob and others in the fight against poverty.
Join RESULTS Intro Call on December 10. If you or someone you know is new to RESULTS, learn more about RESULTS and how you can get involved on one of RESULTS Introductory Calls. These 30-45 minute calls provide you an overview of our work and the ways you can participate. The next call is this Wednesday, December 10 at 9:00pm ET. To participate, register for the call on the RESULTS website.
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 and Senate: 113th Congress will adjourn sometime in December. Request face-to-face meetings.
Wednesday, December 10: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register at: https://results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/#Introductory%20Call.
Friday, December 12: RESULTS group start meeting in Ypsilanti, MI, 5:00 pm ET. For more details, contact Meredith Dodson at [email protected].
Tuesday, December 16: U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET. (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096.
Thursday, December 25 – Thursday, January 1: All RESULTS offices closed for holiday break. Note that the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Staff will be off December 20 – January 4.
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.