U.S. Poverty Weekly Update December 4, 2012

December 4, 2012

“Anticipate charity by preventing poverty.”

—   Maimonides

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Join the RESULTS National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 pm ET

Join us this Saturday, December 8, for the final RESULTS National Conference Call of 2012. With Congress back in Washington and still negotiating on how to deal with so-called “fiscal cliff” – the expiration of the Bush tax cuts (including the improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) coupled with the automatic “sequestration” cuts beginning in January—we have a lot to talk about it. The next few weeks could be critical in determining the fate of public services that help millions of Americans lift and keep themselves out of poverty each year. We knew this was coming when Congress decided to delay any action until after the election so please plan to join us on Saturday as we prepare for these critical, final few weeks of the year.

Our guest speaker is Barbara Pryor, longtime legislative assistant to Senator Jay Rockefeller. Barbara has worked on Capitol Hill for over 25 years and she’ll offer her “insider” perspective on the budget showdown and, in particular, what’s at stake for low-income families. Senator Rockefeller is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, the key committee with jurisdiction over tax and health policy.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and remind your local RESULTS group along with any guests from last month’s outreach event with Barbara Ehrenreich about this RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, December 8 at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709 and once connected to the operator, ask for the RESULTS National Conference Call. Plan to call in no later than 12:27 pm ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call. We will have the December 2012 Conference Call Overview slides available later this week. Go to our national conference call page on the RESULTS website to download the presentation before the call.

Got Ten Minutes? Have You Called Your Tax Aide Yet? (November and December Action)

We continue to focus our efforts on shoring up support for one of the most effective poverty-reduction tools in the U.S. — tax credits for low-income families. New Census data shows that Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) lifted 8.7 million people out of poverty last year. This includes many military families (see this blogpost for examples) and single working parents. Overall, the EITC is the nation’s best tool for reducing poverty among children and that it offers families temporary support working families need to climb out of poverty. These key tax credits face two threats: that critical expansions to the EITC and CTC will expire this year, and that they will face deep cuts in a broader deficit reduction package. The Tax Policy Center estimates that if the improvements enacted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) expire as scheduled, 11 million working families will lose an average of $854 from their Child Tax Credit, and 7 million families will lose an average of $532 from their EITC. And, deep cuts to EITC and CTC for low-income that are part of a broader budget deal could be devastating to millions more families.

Thanks to all those who participated in the call-in day last week, and we need to keep up the pressure! After all of our hard work to protect these tax credits will culminate in the few weeks, we are continuing the focus of our November Action Sheet through December (action sheet to be posted this week) – it’s extremely important that RESULTS volunteers and allies pick up the phone and call the tax aides in their Congressional offices to talk specifically about the EITC and CTC. 

TAKE ACTION: Take 10 minutes to call the tax aides in your House and both Senate offices about the EITC and CTC. Use the information in the November Action to urge the aide to ask his/her boss to speak to Senate (Sens. Reid/McConnell) or House (Reps. Boehner/Pelosi) leadership, requesting that:

1.      They make the expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent

2.      They support a principle that specifically protects the EITC and CTC from cuts in any deficit reduction framework.

You can find the names of tax aides for your members of Congress on the RESULTS Elected Officials page and the call-in number from last week [(888) 743-1097] is still available. If you have already called your tax aides and made your request, follow up with them to see if they and their bosses have taken any action on your request. These follow-up calls help ensure that the requests you make of your elected officials are taken seriously and acted upon.

Have questions or need coaching before making your calls? Contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) on the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff.

Got Twenty Minutes? Prepare for Your Calls with Congressional Tax Staffers, Update/Training Call Next Week

One of the features that make RESULTS volunteers unique is your preparation and depth of knowledge. This week is a great time to prepare for calls you will make to tax aides by gathering additional information you can use for your next call (see CBPP’s  great state-by-state breakdown along with the information on military families mentioned above) and then roleplaying with fellow RESULTS volunteers before you make the call. Need a reminder of how to work with Congressional staff to build a relationship? See our Activist Toolkit: Establish a relationship with the congressional aide. We’ll also have a training exercise on Saturday’s conference call you can use as a guide – we’ll update our tax credits laser talk later this week you can adapt for your calls.

In order to provide RESULTS volunteers and allies with an update on the budget showdown and training on how to create their own laser talks, RESULTS will host a special conference call next Thursday, December 13, at 9 pm ET. This call will be a great follow up for coalition partners and guests from recent outreach events who want a chance to hear the latest on the “fiscal cliff” and how they can impact the debate. To participate, call: (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

TAKE ACTION: Spend 20 minutes doing what you need to do to be more effective in your follow up work with Congress – whether that is preparing your own laser talk, practicing with a fellow RESULTS volunteer or staff, or marking your calendar for next week’s training call.

Send a Letter to the Editor Urging Congress to Protect Critical Services in Deficit Reduction

As the “fiscal cliff” negotiations heat up this month, it is important that the media cover the impact these upcoming policy changes will have on low-income families. Even though most economists believe, unlike what’s being hyped by politicians and the media, that fiscal Armageddon will not take place on January 1 and thus Congress still has time in 2013 to avoid a recession, the changes will have significant impact on low-income individuals and families. For example, the National Head Start Association estimates that if automatic cuts to Head Start and child care go through, 100,000 children will lose Head Start services and 80,000  children and their families will lose child care assistance. Also, if expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC are not extended, 13 million families, which include 25 million children, will see their taxes increase significantly. These are real impacts on real people that the media, our elected officials, and our communities need to hear.

Once you’ve communicated directly with your Congressional offices, amplify your message with the media.

TAKE ACTION: Use our online LTE alert to submit a letter to stop posturing and solve the fiscal problems of their making. Tell them by name to invest in poverty reduction and oppose cuts to services that support low-income individuals and families.

Submit Requests for Face-to-Face Meetings in 2013

You can lay the groundwork for successful work with members of Congress, including new members, by submitting requests for face-to-face meetings NOW for early next year. At a strategic planning retreat last month, the volunteer RESULTS Regional Coordinators laid out a goal of making sure RESULTS meets face-to-face with every member of Congress we cover in 2013 – RESULTS U.S. poverty volunteers have a presence in at least 25 states and 66 House districts, and imagine the impact direct lobby meetings with each will have in building the movement to end poverty in America!

TAKE ACTION: Submit your request for face-to-face meetings with your representative and senators. You can tailor our online request form. Be sure to follow up within a few days to confirm that your request was received and the status of it. Once you get a meeting scheduled or if you plan to attend a public event to ask a question, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff to help you plan your agenda and devise the best messaging to use in your meeting.

Join the New Activist Orientation Call and Free Agents Call Next Week

Are you new to RESULTS? Want to learn more about how RESULTS can help you be a powerful advocate for the end of poverty? Then plan to join our New Activist Orientation series beginning tomorrow night. This series provides an in-depth overview of RESULTS and our work. It is great for new members of a local RESULTS group or people just wanting to learn more about what we do and why we do it. This series includes two, one-hour calls. The first call is tomorrow, December 5 at 9:00 pm ET. The second call is next Wednesday, December 12 at 9:00 pm ET. If you would like to participate, please dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. You can RSVP or questions to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. Note: Tomorrow’s call is a repeat of the November 28 New Activist Orientation training. If you participated in that training, your next call is on December 12.

Looking for the next step with RESULTS but don’t have a group nearby? The next RESULTS Free Agents call for U.S. poverty advocates is next week. If you live in an area with no active RESULTS group and would like support taking action on our U.S. poverty issues, please plan to join this monthly call. The call is next Tuesday, December 11 at 9:00 pm ET; (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587#. RSVP for the call to Jos Linn at [email protected].

Quick News

Use RESULTS Outreach Action Sheets. RESULTS works to provide you the resources you need in your anti-poverty advocacy. One such resource is our Outreach Action sheets. These one-page letter-writing actions are Word documents you can download and print to use for tabling at events, to send to allies, or to take with your group. We update these sheets regularly so you have the most recent requests. We have outreach action sheets for Tax Credits (EITC and CTC), the Wealth Gap and Asset Building, and Head Start and Child Care.

Fundraising News

First in the alphabet, our Albuquerque and Austin groups helped us end 2012 with two fantastic events. Albuquerque hosted guests at a bed and breakfast, treating them to belgian waffles with our RESULTS Senior Legislative Asociate Allison Grossman to raise $2500. Austin partners raised $10,500 and highlighted both global and domestic poverty with an “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday” afternoon dessert reception featuring local author Julie Clawson and RESULTS senior associate on US poverty campaigns Jos Linn. Thank you very much! And good luck to Olympia, WA, RESULTS volunteers on their December 5 House party with Dr. Laura Hart. For more information, contact Nancy at (360) 463-3656.

There are still ways to contribute to RESULTS in the last weeks of December! If you’d like your loved ones to consider giving to RESULTS for your holiday gifts, please direct them to our online Annual Appeal webpage we’ve set up for our donors who wish to make end-of-year contributions to fight poverty. If your planning to run a Jingle Bell 5K race or other physical challenge, you can create your own online fundraising page on the RESULTS Race to End Poverty website. Contact Cindy Levin at [email protected] for help with online fundraising questions.

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Wednesday, December 5: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the first call of a two-call series; the second call is December 12).

Tuesday, December 11: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587# (RESULTS#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Wednesday, December 12: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the second call of the two-call series).

Thursday, December 13: special RESULTS Budget Showdown and Laser Talk Training call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Friday, December 14: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Tuesday, December 25 – Tuesday, January 1: All RESULTS offices closed for the end of year holidays.

RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. 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.

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