U.S. Poverty Weekly Update July 2, 2013

July 2, 2013

Head Start staff in our community and around the country sees the importance of good nutrition for children in order for them to succeed in school. SNAP is our first line of defense against hunger in America. Our local RESULTS group is one of many throughout the country that empowers ordinary people to create extraordinary change! You can help too!

— RESULTS Creston (IA) group in a June 25, 2013, letter to the editor in the Creston News Advertiser

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

RESULTS hopes that all of you have a very happy and safe Independence Day holiday!

Got Two Minutes? Talk to Members of Congress during This Week’s Recess

Congress is on recess this week for the Independence Day holiday. This presents a perfect opportunity to do some effective advocacy. Since this is such a critical time in our work to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you can use this recess to make sure your members of congress understand how important SNAP is to your community. It also gives you the chance to thank your members of Congress who stood up for SNAP in the House and Senate Farm Bill debates. The fate of SNAP and the Farm Bill is still uncertain but Congress is already contemplating next steps. Use this recess to remind them that hungry children and families need a helping hand, not the back of one.

When contacting schedulers, remember that many members of Congress appear in Independence Day parades during this recess. Ask schedulers if your representatives or senators will be at any parades and plan to attend. Go to the parade staging area or end point and take a few minutes talk to them. You might even get to have numerous face-to-faces at once!

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call the DC or local schedulers for your members of Congress to see if they are holding any town halls or appearing at any events this week. If so, plan to attend and ask a question. We have updated our Sample Town Hall Questions for this recess. You can also check their congressional websites to see if they have any events listed there. You can find DC scheduler names, local contact information, and website links on our Elected Officials page.

If you get a meeting set up or plan to attend town hall meeting, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff for help preparing. Also, when going to meetings, be sure to take our 2013 Lobby Meetings Requests found on our U.S Poverty Campaigns page (in the green box).

Got Ten Minutes? Keep Up the Great Work — We Can Reach Our Media Goal This Week (June Action)

We are almost there! In June, you all got 24 media pieces published about protecting SNAP. What a fabulous accomplishment. As we said last week, you can bet your media work made a difference when the House surprisingly defeated its Farm Bill (195-234), with its $21 billion in SNAP cuts. It also let lawmakers know that their constituents are paying close attention to what they’re doing in DC.

Our goal from the June Action was to get 30 pieces published and we can still make it. We need to keep the pressure on and keep the pieces of media flowing. Many people in your district may not be following the SNAP debate. By getting pieces of media published, you can tell you community how their member of Congress voted, educate them, and hopefully enlist new allies. It’s also a great way to catch your lawmakers’ attention and remind them that you know the fight is not yet over and you’re not taking anything for granted. Let’s get those last 6 pieces and show Congress that when it comes to protecting hungry children and families, RESULTS volunteers know how to get things done

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to write a letter to the editor, op-ed, or editorial about protecting SNAP. Use the June Action to help write your media pieces or our updated online LTE alert to send your message today. If your representative voted against the House Farm Bill, publicly thank them for voting no against the devastating cuts and urge him/her to remain vigilant in protecting SNAP. If your representative voted for the bill, express your disappointment and remind him/her and news readers in your area that cutting SNAP is very unpopular back home. You can use our Farm Bill vote page to see how your representative voted.

If you have questions or need coaching in doing an op-ed or editorial, please contact RESULTS Regional Coordinator Ginnie Vogts at [email protected] or Jos Linn at [email protected]. When you do get published, please let Jos know so we can add it to our media tally.

Got Twenty Minutes? Get A Face-to-Face Meeting during the RESULTS Conference or August Recess (July Action)

The fight to protect SNAP is not over. Congress is working on tax reform. Head Start and child care are facing deep budget cuts. These are all issues that require the attention of our elected officials. Over the next two months, you’re going to have ample opportunity to put these issues front and center with lawmakers. However, if you don’t start planning now, you might miss the boat.

Lobby Day at the RESULTS International Conference. Many of you will be attending the RESULTS International Conference later this month. The highlight of the conference is our Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. This is where the hundreds of advocates attending the conference meet with their members of Congress and their staff with one unified message — end poverty now. If you are attending the conference, you want to schedule your meetings now. Lobby Day is Tuesday, July 23.

August Recess. As you may know, Congress likes their vacations. However, these “in-district work periods” are great opportunities to meet face-to-face with them at home. The August recess is the best time to meet with them because they’re home for an entire month. It is also an important time because Congress will be facing important deadlines in September (end of fiscal year, Farm Bill expiration) and this may be the last time to meet with them before then. Finally, it gives people who cannot attend our conference the chance to meet with lawmakers and it gives those who do meet with them a chance to follow up.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to take the July Action and set up your face-to-face meetings for the RESULTS International Conference, the August recess, or both. Face-to-face meetings with constituents are the most effective way to influence members of Congress. Setting up a meeting now will give you plenty of time to prepare and you will get on the schedule well in advance. So take advantage of this opportunity to visit with your member of Congress and tell them what the people in your community want.

You can find DC scheduler names, local contact information, and website links on our Elected Officials page. If you get a meeting set up, please contact RESULTS U.S. Poverty Staff for help in preparing you. Also, when going to meetings, be sure to take our 2013 Lobby Meetings Requests found on our U.S Poverty Campaigns page (in the green box).

If you are coming to the conference, be sure to coordinate with other advocates coming to the conference in your state on scheduling your lobby meetings. Contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Katja Kleine ([email protected]) to find out of anyone else from your district or state is coming to the conference. Also, ask members of your community to write letters about our issues and bring them with you to DC. Conference attendees will have ample opportunity to prepare for Lobby Day meetings at the conference.

RESULTS International Conference

REGISTER today for this year’s RESULTS International Conference!

The RESULTS International Conference is just around the corner. We have a wonderful event planned — check out the conference agenda to what’s in store. It is being updated daily with more details. It’s still not too late to register. Don’t miss the event of the season — register today!

Now is also the time for conference attendees to start preparing for the conference. There are some important things you will want to do before you get to DC. Here is your to-do list:

  • Read the U.S. Poverty Campaigns Legislative Handbook.* Each year, we prepare a comprehensive packet on our U.S. Poverty issues for the conference. Download the handbook from the RESULTS website. Please note, we will not have copies of the packet to distribute at the conference so if you want a hard copy, please print it off yourself and bring it with you.
  • Read the Conference Checklist. The IC Checklist gives you a great run-down of the things you’ll want to do before coming to DC.
  • Set Up your Face-to-Face Lobby Meetings. Lobby Day is Tuesday, July 23. Scheduling your meetings with members of Congress now; you don’t want to lose your chance at an in-person meeting. Use the July Action for guidance. Once scheduled, please enter each meeting into our Lobby Meeting tracking form.
  • Schedule Your Lobby Prep Call. RESULTS staff meets with conference attendees via phone before they get to DC to help you prepare for your specific lobby meetings. Please Contact Jos Linn ([email protected], (515) 288-3622) to schedule a time to talk.

We look forward to seeing you in DC in just over two weeks!

*A deep, invaluable debt of gratitude goes to RESULTS U.S. Poverty Team members Katja Kleine, Errolyn Gray, and Ann Beltran for helping draft and edit this year’s handbook. We could not have done it without them.

Join the Rally4Babies on July 8

The Rally4Babies event is quickly approaching. RESULTS remains committed to protecting important investments in early childhood programs such as Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care. In efforts to further support early learning, RESULTS is cosponsoring Rally4Babies: Learning Happens from the Start, a national virtual baby rally on July 8. The rally will be held from 2:00-2:30 pm ET. Organizers are using this event to rally Americans across the country to support and push for investments in early learning for babies and toddlers. Speakers for the rally will be Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Actor and Save the Children Artist Ambassador Jennifer Garner will be a rally presenter and CEO Starfish Media Group and HBO Real Sports journalist Soledad O’Brien will host the rally.

People will be able to view and participate in the rally on YouTube by using Google+Hangouts on Air across the country. It is important to bring awareness to early childhood education right now because Congress is currently working on the budget for fiscal year 2014. The Senate is proposing to increase Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education funding (Labor-HHS), which includes Head Start and child care, among many programs), by $7.7 billion. However, the House is proposing to cut Labor-HHS funding by almost $35 billion.

TAKE ACTION: Participate in the Rally4Babies next Monday, July 8. Participate online, through social media, and via e-mail. Let everyone you know that we need to stand up for America’s children. You can also show your support for early learning by signing a petition that calls for more investments in early learning services. For more information about how you can participate, visit http://rally4babies.org/virtual-rally/.

Finally, tell your members of Congress to support investments in Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care using our early learning e-mail alert.

Tell Your Members of Congress to Weigh In on Tax Reform

Last Thursday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) circulated a letter in the Senate about tax reform. They are looking to start tax reform with a “blank slate.” This means “starting with tax code without all of the special provisions in the form of exclusions, deductions and credits and other preferences that some refer to as ‘tax expenditures.’” They also state that special provisions are out unless there is clear evidence that they: (1) help grow the economy, (2) make the tax code fairer, or (3) effectively promote other important policy objectives. They are urging their Senate colleagues to submit ideas and legislative language by July 26.

While it is refreshing to see this bipartisan effort to make the tax code fairer, we must tread cautiously. We cannot sacrifice provisions such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) , which are vitally important for hard-working families, in the name of simplicity. Particularly when they clearly satisfy the three objectives they require. The tax reform debate also gives us the chance to revisit our asset building work. RESULTS supports enacting the Family Financial Security Credit. This credit allows low-income households to designate some of their tax EITC and CTC refunds into a savings account right on their tax returns. To encourage participation, their deposits are matched by the government up to $500 per year. Letting people create a matched savings accounts right on their tax return provides the ease and incentive for people to save. See the RESULTS Blog post for more about asset policies.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to strengthen and expand the EITC and CTC in tax reform. Use our tax credit e-mail alert to urge your members of Congress to protect tax credits for working families in tax reform. You can also urge them to promote asset development policies as part of tax reform, including the Family Financial Security Credit.

You can also weigh directly about tax reform at www.taxreform.gov. This site was set up by Chairman Baucus and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4) to solicit your share your thoughts and stories about tax reform. You can also use this to promote our tax credit and asset work.

See the latest about our Economic Opportunity Campaign on the Recent Developments in Economic Opportunity Legislation and our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary.

RESULTS Welcomes Orange County!

RESULTS volunteers and RESULTS staff member Jos Linn held RESULTS Outreach Meeting last week in Orange County, CA. It was a great success. In the end, nearly 30 people showed up for the event, with 12 people signing up to get involved in a new group. This was a great success and in large part due to the organizing prowess of Vanessa Garcia, the woman who spearheaded this effort. Thank you, Vanessa, along with fellow organizer Genesis Torres, for all your help. The group will begin their “new group training” next Wednesday, July 10. If you know anyone who would like to connect with the new group, please let Jos know at [email protected]. Welcome Orange County!

Jos will next be traveling to Kansas City, MO to get a new group started area. There will be a RESULTS Outreach Meeting in KC on Wednesday, July 17 at 7:00 pm CT at the Plaza Library, 4801 Main St in KCMO. If you know people in the KC area, please invite them to attend (see our Facebook event page). Contact Jos for more details.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer Jenny Martin is working to start and grow new RESULTS groups in Burlington, VT, Brattleboro, VT, Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine. In fact, she has a RESULTS Outreach Meeting scheduled in Vermont in early August. If you or someone you know lives in Vermont or these other areas, please contact Jenny for more information at [email protected].

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer Myrdin Thompson is working to start new RESULTS groups in Louisville, Cincinnati, Nashville, Memphis, and Albuquerque. If you or someone you know lives in these areas, please contact Myrdin for more information at [email protected].

Quick News

Save Your Refund Program a Success. There are lots of new and innovative asset building programs popping up around the country. Save Your Refund, which is a sweepstakes sponsored by Doorways to Dreams (D2D), encourages people to save part of their tax refund by filing out a form (Form 8888) at tax time. Those who enter must put at least $50 into an account. By doing this they are entered into a sweepstakes to win 41 cash prizes, the top one being a $25,000 sweepstakes. So how did it go this year? All but one of the 269 participants said they would “definitely” or “probably” participate again next year. It also introduced 73 percent of the participants to the Form 8888, which allows you to enter part of your refund into a savings account right when you file your taxes. 89 percent of participants said the opportunity to win money would make them more likely to save part of their refund. That is encouraging news because it shows how effective incentivizing savings can be at any income level. With a matched savings account, the Family Financial Security Credit would incentivize savings in a similar fashion.

RESULTS Fundraising Update

Keep your eyes open for registration info about of first ever “Everyday Hero Dash, ” a virtual run to raise money for RESULTS to celebrate and support our volunteer advocates at the International Conference speaking out to Congress to help people out of poverty. Here is how it works: you get to choose your date, time, and distance to run between 7/13-7/28 and you earn a really cool hero medal! Participants who are actually in DC on July 21 can dash with us in-person at 7:00 am from the conference hotel for a 1 mile or 5K run/walk. Registration will be $25 and will include a race bib to wear during your virtual race (or not) and a hero medal to forever remind you how important your support is to people in need. More information coming soon!

For information on all our fundraising efforts and to get help hosting your own fundraiser for RESULTS, please contact Cindy Changyit Levin at [email protected].

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: July 1-5. Request face-to-face meetings.

Thursday, July 4: Independence Day. All RESULTS offices closed.

Wednesday, July 10: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

Saturday, July 13: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Tuesday, July 16: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS (7378587, plus #).

Wednesday, July 17: RESULTS Kansas City Outreach Meeting, 7:00 pm CT. Plaza Library, 4801 Main, Kansas City, MO, 7:00 pm CT. For more details, contact Jos Linn at (515) 288-3622, [email protected]. See more on Facebook.

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

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. Please note that RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson is on maternity leave until Labor Day 2013.

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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