U.S. Poverty Weekly Update January 8, 2013
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
— Antoine de Saint Exupery
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
- Got Two Minutes? Join RESULTS National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 pm ET with Rep. Jim McGovern
- Got Ten Minutes? Submit Your Face-to-Face Meeting Requests
Latest from Washington, DC
- As the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the “Fiscal Cliff” Deal Sinks In, One Thing is Clear — Your Advocacy Works!
- Can You Believe All These Great Advocacy Resources We Have for You?
- Quick News
Got Two Minutes? Join RESULTS National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 pm ET with Rep. Jim McGovern
Join us this Saturday, January 12, for the first RESULTS National Conference Call of 2013. With the ink still drying on the “fiscal cliff” deal, we’ll have a lot to discuss. Not only will we update you on the impact of the deal on low-income Americans, we’ll preview the next budget battle which is only weeks away. To help us, we are thrilled to have Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA-2) as this month’s guest speaker. Congressman McGovern has been a tireless advocate for low-income Americas and is a champion for ending hunger in America. He’ll share his insights on the fiscal cliff deal, the remaining threats to anti-poverty programs, and how we can best use our voices to protect America’s most vulnerable. We’ll also spend time on the call helping you prepare for group planning this month. Please plan to join us for this important call.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, January 12 at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. Be sure to use Rep. McGovern’s appearance to reconnect with anti-hunger advocates in your area and invite them to 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 January 2013 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? Submit Your Face-to-Face Lobby Meeting Requests (January Action)
The next few months could have sweeping implications on policies and programs that help lift and keep people out of poverty. With the next debt ceiling fight, reinstatement of the automatic “sequestration” cuts, and the deadline to finish the FY 2013 federal budget all happening within a few weeks of each other, there will be lots of pressure cut anti-poverty programs to reduce the deficit. It’s imperative that we remind members of Congress of how important these programs are to millions of low-income They need to know that their constituents do not support balancing the budget on the backs of American’s most vulnerable people.
The January Action is focused on scheduling face-to-face meetings with members of Congress. We’ve mentioned that RESULTS has a bold but achievable goal of meeting face-to-face with representatives and senators in the 25 states and 72 House districts where we currently have volunteers (with more being added). That’s why this is our first action of the year. These meetings make a difference but can take time to get scheduled so please submit your requests for meetings with your representatives and senators today!
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to submit a request for face-to-face meetings with your representative and senators. Whether you have done your 2013 group planning yet or not, coordinate with your group THIS WEEK to submit your requests. Be sure to have your House or Senate point person from your group follow up about the status of your request regularly until you get your meetings scheduled. You can tailor our online request form to submit the request.
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.
This is the time of the year when RESULTS activists and groups do their group planning. Group planning process is a key component of RESULTS’ successes over the years. Achieving your goals requires careful planning and manageable action steps. Anything else is just wishful thinking. RESULTS groups are successful year after year because they go through this process. Plus, it’s fun. It’s exciting to look back at what you achieved over the last year and then take on new challenges to even more in the new year. And always remember, this kind of planning is how move closer to a world free of poverty.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to start your group planning process. RESULTS has resources, materials, and coaching available to help you make group planning effective, rewarding, and fun. Here are tips and materials to help you get started this week:
- Schedule your group planning meeting. If you have not scheduled a date and time for your group planning, take time during this weekend’s conference call to do so. Give yourselves enough time to make it a meaningful experience (we recommend at least 90 minutes). Please plan to have your group planning meeting by January 31.
- Download and review the Group Planning Materials. Download the Group Planning Guide and Group Planning Summary before your meeting. The guide includes a sample agenda you can use for your meeting.
- Decide who will facilitate the meeting. Group planning works best when it is directed. Whether it’s your group leader or others in the group, determine who facilitate your group planning meeting to keep it on track and then have that person plan the agenda.
- Complete the Individual Planning Form. Before your group planning meeting, have each person in your RESULTS group fill out the Individual Planning Form. This allows each person to articulate their personal triumphs and goals for the year. Bring these completed sheets to your meeting and use them to complete your group plan. By doing this exercise ahead of time, your group planning meeting will go much more efficiently.
- Plan to have fun. Group planning is meant to be a fun process. Whatever your group does to have fun, include that in your planning meeting AND your group plan itself. This work can get heavy at times so it’s very important that we regularly take time to make it fun.
You can find all our 2013 group planning resources on the RESULTS Group Resources and Administration page. If you have questions or need help with group planning, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) on the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff.
As we noted last week, Congress passed “The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.” The Senate voted 89-8 and the House voted 257-167 to pass the bill. For RESULTS, there are several things to be pleased about. First and foremost, we are happy that the 2009 improvements to Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) which we’ve worked so hard to extend were indeed extended for another five years. That means millions of working families will continue to benefit from these important improvements through 2017. We are also pleased that unemployment insurance and SNAP (formerly food stamps) were both extended, and that discretionary programs such as Head Start, child care assistance, and poverty-focused foreign assistance were given a short reprieve from the automatic “sequestration” cuts that were to begin on January 1.
But there were also disappointments. While the EITC and CTC improvements saw only five year extensions, income tax cuts for wealthy (those between $200,000 and $400,000 per year), changes in retirement savings which primarily benefit upper-income households, and a huge estate tax cut which only benefits the richest 0.3 percent of estates, were made permanent. Because of these concessions, the bill only raises about $700 billion in new revenue over the next ten years, far below the $1.6 trillion in revenue President Obama was originally seeking.
While this means we have more work ahead of us, one thing is for sure. Your advocacy worked! The refundable credits were getting little attention among the media and lawmakers throughout this process. If it were not for you constantly putting this issue in front of your members of Congress, who knows what would have happened. The squeaky wheel gets the grease in politics and all of you once again proved that are very adept at making strategic and meaningful noise.
Unfortunately, we don’t have much time rest. The next few months expect to be the antithesis of the waiting eleven-month game we saw in 2012. Sequestration, another debt ceiling fight, and the expiration of the current FY2013 budget continuing resolution will all take place in February and March. Many in Washington will use this confluence of events to push for drastic changes to the social safety net. Already, Republican leaders are saying that revenue is now off the table and any deficit reduction will have to come exclusively from cuts to entitlements and non-defense discretionary spending. Unfortunately, they conveniently forget that the Budget Control Act of 2011 cut twice as much in spending as the fiscal cliff deal raised in revenue. There will inevitably be drastic cuts proposed to SNAP, Medicaid, Head Start, child care, and other important anti-poverty programs. Even with the fiscal cliff deal, the EITC and CTC will likely be targeted as well.
In the coming weeks, we’ll have a better idea of what specific threats we’ll be facing and provide you all the information and resources you need to protect low-income Americans from these threats. In the meantime, use group planning this month to set goals and put structures in place so your group will be poised and ready to go. And put in those face-to-face requests so we can again send the message to Congress to maintain America’s commitment to ending poverty.
For an excellent overview what to expect the next few months, see this paper from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Are you new to RESULTS? Why not get to know us a little better. If you are looking for a simple, fun introduction to RESULTS and our work, join our next RESULTS Introductory Calls. These bimonthly 30 minute calls are great for learning more about RESULTS and how you can get involved. The next RESULTS Intro Call is tomorrow, January 9, at 9:00 pm ET. To register for an upcoming Intro call, go to www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/ and sign up today.
If you’re already taking action but don’t have an active RESULTS U.S. Poverty group near you, plan to join the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Group. The group meets once per month via conference call to provide you updates and support in taking action on our U.S. poverty issues. The next RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents call is next Tuesday, January 15 at 9:00 pm ET; (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587#. RSVP for the call to Jos Linn at [email protected].
Finally, 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 next Tuesday, January 15, 9:00 pm ET; (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
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!
Join Event Next Week Focused on Poverty in America. NPR radio host Tavis Smiley is hosting an event next week 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 George Washington University in Washington, DC. To learn more about the event and register to attend in person, via phone, internet, or radio, go to http://www.tavistalks.com/visionforanewamerica/.
Vote for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Grassroots Board Member position. RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund is looking to fill one grassroots board position to serve a term of three (3) years beginning in February of 2013. Our grassroots board candidates include:
•Mary Albertson (Detroit, MI)
•Frank Gilbert (Louisville, KY)
•Rob Marshall (Atlanta, GA)
•Beth Wilson (Kitsap, WA)
We are getting our 2013 RESULTS / RESULTS Educational Fund fundraising year off to a good start. Next week, our Washington DC RESULTS partners are holding a “game night” fundraiser at the Board Room Game Bar. The event is Wednesday, January 16, 6:00–8:00 pm ET. Please help them promote it by forwarding their website to people you know in the area. You can also donate to their fundraiser online through that website.
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.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Wednesday, January 9: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.
Saturday, January 12: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online. (888) 409-6709.
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.
Saturday, July 20 – Tuesday, July 23: 2013 RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC.
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:
- Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (202) 783-7100 x116, [email protected]
- Jos Linn, Senior Associate, U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
- Jenny Martin, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, New England, (413) 774-1707, [email protected]
- Ann Beltran, U.S. Poverty Volunteer Lobbyist, [email protected]
- Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Development Associate, (773) 236-7758, [email protected]
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.