U.S. Poverty Weekly Update January 15, 2013

January 15, 2013

If government stands for anything, it ought to be there for poor people.

— Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA-2) on the January 2013 RESULTS National Conference Call

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Got Two Minutes? Check in with Your Group about Face-to-Face Meeting Requests

This month, RESULTS is focusing our advocacy efforts on scheduling face-to-face meetings with members of Congress as soon as possible. As noted on last Saturday’s RESULTS National Conference Call (see more below), the next few months will have a major impact on programs that help lift and keep people out of poverty. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), SNAP (formerly food stamps), Medicaid, Head Start, child care assistance, and a host of other important programs could face significant cuts, depending on how Congress resolves the debt ceiling and sequestration issues. These issues will come to a head in mid-to-late February. That is why it is so important that we set up these face-to-face meetings now. We need to remind our representatives and senators that their constituents strongly oppose balancing the budget on the backs of low-income individuals and families.

TAKE ACTION: During last weekend’s conference call, groups committed to requesting meetings with 56 congressional offices by the end of this week. Take two minutes and check in with your groups on the status of their requests. If people have not made their requests yet, encourage them to do so. If they have, thank them and remind them to follow up with the scheduler. Use the January Action to help with making requests. You can also submit them using our online request form. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff to help you prepare.

For those of you in an area with no active RESULTS group, plan to join the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents group. This group meets monthly to support you in taking action. This month we will support Free Agents in making face-to-face meeting requests. The next Free Agents call is TONIGHT, January 15 at 9:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587# (RESULTS#).

Got Ten Minutes? Follow Up on Your Face-to-Face Lobby Meeting Requests (January Action)

RESULTS thanks Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA-2) for speaking to our volunteers this past weekend on the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. Congressman McGovern is the definition of a champion for the end of poverty and we greatly appreciate his time.

On the call, he talked about the recent fiscal cliff deal (a process he referred to as the “theater of the absurd”) and the remaining threats to anti-poverty programs, particularly the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). He talked about the importance of pushing back against the “myths” about SNAP. For example, despite claims of waste and fraud, Congressman McGovern explained that SNAP is one of the most efficiently run programs in the federal government, with an error rate of around 3 percent. Pushing back against claims that SNAP creates a culture of dependency, the congressman pointed out that most of the adults receiving SNAP benefits are working, saying emphatically “I have never met a person on SNAP who would rather be on SNAP than have a job that pays with a livable wage so they can provide for their family.”

Finally, Congressman McGovern reminded us why we need to keep pushing lawmakers to protect our national investments that reduce poverty, especially over the next few months. With sequestration, the debt ceiling, and the expiration of current continuing resolution all happening in February and March, powerful forces in Congress will propose drastic cuts to anti-poverty programs like SNAP and Medicaid. He told us it’s imperative we meet and talk with members of Congress and remind them that there are political consequences for voting against people living in poverty. That message coincides perfectly with this month’s action. We need to push congressional offices for face-to-face meetings as soon as possible so we can take our message directly to lawmakers — don’t balance the budget on the back of low-income Americans.

TAKE ACTION: The House will be on recess January 28 – February 1 and both the House and Senate will be on recess February 18–22. Take ten minutes to follow up on your face-to-face meeting requests, per the January Action. On last weekend’s conference call, groups committed to contacting 56 congressional offices THIS WEEK to request face-to-face meetings. Hopefully, many of you have already submitted your requests. Once you make your request, plan to follow up with the scheduler within 1–2 days to confirm that your request was received and to check on the status. Be sure to review our January 2013 Laser Talk, a sample follow-up call to a scheduler.

Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff to help you plan your agenda and devise the best messaging and requests to use in your meeting.

Again, we sincerely thank Congressman McGovern for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us last Saturday. We also thank him for his strong leadership in making the end of poverty a top priority. You can listen to a recording of the January 2013 RESULTS National Conference Call on the RESULTS website.

Got Twenty Minutes? Schedule Your Group Planning Meeting and Complete your Individual Planning Sheet

In addition to submitting meeting requests with our House and Senate members this month, this is also the time of year when RESULTS groups around the country do their annual group planning. This process is one of the main reasons RESULTS volunteers are successful in their advocacy year after year. By putting concrete goals and aspirations on paper, you are more likely to achieve them. Drafting a group plan also gives you a benchmark from which to measure your progress throughout the year. It’s also fun. Many groups make their group planning meeting a social occasion to enjoy each other’s company, celebrating the group’s advocacy successes, and getting excited about the coming year. We encourage you to have fun, not only in the planning process but also in your plan itself — include fun things in your group plan to keep your advocacy positive, inspiring, and enjoyable.

Our organizational goal is for all our groups to complete group planning by the end of January. If you have not scheduled your group planning meeting yet, please do so this week. Once you have your date set, download and review the 2013 Group Planning materials to use in the meeting. Included in those materials is the Individual Planning Sheet. Send a copy of this sheet to all your group members and ask them to complete it and bring it to your group planning meeting. This form helps group members identify the goals they want to individually accomplish this year, which you can then use to form your group plan. The form takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and will make your group planning meeting run quickly and smoothly. Finally, be sure to review our updated U.S. Poverty Campaigns page which outlines the areas we will be focusing on legislatively in 2013.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to complete the 2013 Individual Planning Sheet start your group planning process. Bring your completed form to your group planning meeting this month to incorporate into your group’s 2013 plan. As you work to set your individual and group goals, keep in mind the grassroots goals we’ve set for 2013 (these goals include both RESULTS Global and U.S. Poverty volunteers):

  1. Work with existing RESULTS groups, Free Agents, and the RESULTS Expansion Team to achieve coverage of 250 congressional districts and 45 states
  2. Meet face-to-face with every member of Congress RESULTS covers
  3. Develop and pilot an on-going Group Leader training program to build leadership throughout the grassroots
  4. Improve relationship building with conservative members of Congress
  5. Expand grassroots media by 50 percent, and increase the number of groups that generate media and have relationships with editorial writers

Once your group has completed your planning, be sure to send a copy of the Group Planning Summary to all the members of your group, your Regional Coordinator, and also to the RESULTS office. Finally, please do not hesitate to ask for help as you do group planning. RESULTS staff and regional coordinators are here to help you in any way we can. Remember, your success is our success so anything we can do to make this process easy and fun, please let us know.

RESULTS is proud to cosponsor an EITC Awareness Day briefing in Washington, DC next week. At the event, speakers will discuss how the Earned Income Tax Credit EITC helps families work, pay for basic necessities, and become more financially secure. Speaker will also talk about the important interplay between federal and state-level tax credits, and steps to strengthen these policies. Although recent improvements to the EITC and Child Tax Credit (CTC) were extended as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal, threats still remain. Congress could decide to take up tax reform in the next few months which, absent specific protections for the EITC and CTC, could undo the progress we’ve made in protecting and expanding these important poverty reduction tools. This briefing will help keep the issue fresh on Capitol Hill and help us protect tax credits for working families going forward.

TAKE ACTION: Invite House and Senate tax aides to the EITC Awareness Day congressional briefing in Washington, DC. The briefing is next Thursday, January 24, 10:00–11:00 am ET in the 385 Russell Senate Office Building. You can find the names of your House and Senate tax aides on RESULTS’ Elected Officials page. Be sure to download and forward them the flyer with all the event details.

Once you’ve invited your tax aides to the event, take a few minutes and use our online e-mail alert to send a message to your members of Congress reminding them of the importance of the EITC and CTC and urge them to protect these important credits in deficit reduction negotiations.

Join the Free Agents or Researching Your Members of Congress Call Tonight

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents will have their first call of 2013 tonight. If you’re already taking action but don’t have an active RESULTS U.S. Poverty group near you, consider joining the U.S. Poverty Free Agents Group. We meet once per month via conference call. These calls are a great way for you to connect with other advocates around the country, learn about what’s happening in Washington, DC, and get support in taking action on our U.S. poverty issues. We hope you will join us. The Free Agents call is tonight, January 15 at 9:00 pm ET; (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587#. RSVP for the call to Jos Linn at [email protected].

We are also thrilled to offer one of our most popular training calls this evening. As you set up your face-to-face meetings with legislators this month, learn how to find out more about them on our Researching Your Member of Congress training call. Longtime RESULTS volunteer and researcher extraordinaire Allison Gallaher will lead this interactive training, which is one of our most popular. This informative call that will help you make the most of your advocacy year but giving you some top research tips and tools. The call is also tonight, January 15, 9:00 pm ET; (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Finally, if you are new to RESULTS or know someone who might be interested in learning more about our work, please invite them to an upcoming RESULTS Introductory Call. These bi-monthly 30 minute calls are great for learning more about RESULTS and how you can get involved. The next RESULTS Intro Call is Friday, January 25 at 1:00 pm ET. To register for an upcoming Intro call, go to www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/ and sign up today.

“Vision for a New America” Poverty Event on Thursday

NPR radio host Tavis Smiley is hosting an event on Thursday designed to put America on the path of ending poverty. During the nationally televised live broadcast of the Vision for a New America, panelists will discuss proven solutions on how government officials can contain the wildfire of American poverty. They will challenge the Obama administration within its first 100 days to aggressively address the nation’s economic crisis by refusing to abandon those Americans most in need. Additionally, panelists will encourage citizens to make their voices heard. The event is Thursday, January 17 at 6:30 pm ET at George Washington University in Washington, DC. You can attend the event in person, by phone, by internet, or by radio. To sign up to participate, go to http://www.tavistalks.com/visionforanewamerica/.

After signing up to attend the event, take a few minutes to send a letter to the editor to your local paper urging Congress to protect programs and services that reduce poverty in America. Use our online LTE alert to send your letter today.

Vote for New Grassroots Board Member. We have 4 candidates for the open Grassroots Board seat. Please vote for one of the candidates by Feb. 7. Candidates are: Rob Marshall of Atlanta, Mary Albertson of Detroit, Beth Wilson of Gig Harbor in Washington State, and Frank Gilbert of Louisville. Please consider their statements and bios and vote today.

Join Early Childhood Call Tomorrow. Join the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for the “After the Fiscal Cliff, What’s Next for Early Childhood?” conference call to discuss the critical issues unresolved by the year-end fiscal cliff deal and a preview of what’s next in Congress. The call will feature Helen Blank of NWLC, Hannah Matthews of CLASP and Adele Robinson or NAEYC. They will discuss the many uncertainties that early childhood programs face as we move toward the next round of budget negotiations. You won’t want to miss this important call. The call is tomorrow, January 16 at 2:30 pm ET. Register today!

Great New Poverty Tool Online. Want to learn more about poverty in your state? Or even your county. Check out the PovertyUSA interactive map that provides you statistics about poverty in your state. It even provides county level data. This is a great tool to help you prepare for your face-to-face meetings with members of Congress.

First Face-to-Face Meeting of the Year. Congratulations to the RESULTS Bernardsville (NJ) for the first face-to-face lobby meeting of 2013! They had a meeting with Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7) on January 11 to talk about the importance of maintaining our national investments to end poverty — you can see a picture of those who attended on our Facebook page. Follow in Bernardsville’s footsteps and schedule your face-to-face meeting today.

Blog, Tweet, and Facebook: RESULTS is Everywhere! Remember in the new year to be part of all the RESULTS buzz through social media. We have our own blog, we’re on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RESULTSEdFund), and we tweet (@RESULTS_Tweets)! Comment, retweet, and share with those you know!

Thank you for everyone who donated to our annual end-of-year campaign or helped us promote it over social media. You helped us exceed our goal of $30,000! For 2012, more envelopes came in for the annual campaign than any time in the last five years. Woo-hoo and thank you!

To help get our 2013 fundraising started off right, our Washington DC RESULTS partners are holding a game night fundraiser at the Board Room this Wednesday, January 16, 6:00–8:00 pm. Please help them promote it by forwarding their website link and urging people to either attend or donate through the website.

We also want to express a deep thank you to Beth Wilson, volunteer leader in the RESULTS Bremerton — Kitsap (WA) group, for her amazing work the last few years in helping our grassroots fundraise. She has managed a number of West Coast fundraisers for us while working a full time job and doing her normal RESULTS advocacy work. Beth is transitioning out of her development role with us but, we are happy to say, continuing her volunteer work with RESULTS! Thank you, Beth. You coached our groups with understanding, patience, and inspiration and we appreciate all the time and effort you’ve given in helping us raise the resources to make our work possible.

Also, please don’t forget to include fundraising in your group planning this month. Contact Cindy Levin at [email protected] if you’re making plans for a 2013 fundraising event.

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Congressional Recesses: House: January 28 – February 1, February 18–22. Senate: February 18–22. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, January 15: 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].

Tuesday, January 15: Researching Your Member of Congress training call, 9:00 pm ET (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Wednesday, January 16: What’s Next for Early Childhood call, 2:30 pm ET. Register today.

Monday, January 21: Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. All RESULTS offices closed.

Thursday, January 24: EITC Awareness Day Briefing, 10:00 am ET. Invite tax aides to attend this event at 385 Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

Friday, January 25: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Saturday, February 9: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Wednesday, February 13: RESULTS Website Training, 8:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Jos Linn at [email protected].

Saturday, July 20 – Tuesday, July 23: 2013 RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC.

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 e-mail 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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