U.S. Poverty Weekly Update July 3, 2012
Here in America, in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin… Today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country.
— President Barack Obama on last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
- Got Two Minutes? Ask a Question at a Public Event This Week
- Got Ten Minutes? Invite Members of Congress to RESULTS Conference Reception
- Got Twenty Minutes? Set Up Meetings to Talk about the EITC and CTC (July Action)
Latest from Washington, DC
- U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Health Reform Law
- Join RESULTS Social Media Training Call Next Monday at 8 pm ET
- NEW DATE: Using Local Data Training Call Now Set for July 16
- Quick News
All of us at RESULTS wish you a very safe and happy Independence Day holiday!
Congress is on recess this week for Independence Day. This is common week for politicians to make public appearances at town hall events and July 4 parades. Use this chance to attend an event and talk with them for a few minutes about our issues. Here are a few tips to help you get in front of legislators appearing in parades:
- Contact the local office of your House and Senate members to see if they are making any public appearances during the recess, including parade appearances.
- If they are making a public appearance, craft a laser talk about the issue you want to discuss. You can also find up-to-date 2012 laser talks on the RESULTS website.
- On the day of the parade, arrive early and find out where the staging area is, i.e. where the parade begins.
- Walk around the staging area to find your member(s) of Congress. See our Elected Officials page for photos of your House and Senate members.
- Go up to them, introduce yourself, ask them if they have a few minutes to talk.
- Deliver your laser talk and request.
- Thank them for their time. Be sure to quickly document what they said on a piece of paper or in your phone as you walk away.
Use these opportunities to follow up on your June letters about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) by asking members of Congress to protect these important tax credits for working families. See our July Action for talking points and background information you can use.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to ask a question at a town hall or parade event during this week’s July 4 recess. See our July Action to help draft a question in support of the EITC and CTC. You can find contact their local offices to see what events they are having or attending this week (see contact info on our Elected Officials page).
If you’ve never attended a town hall or asked a question of a member of Congress before, we have all the resources you need in our Activist Toolkit, including how to write your own EPIC laser talk and how to ask a question at a town hall event. Also, please feel free to contact Meredith Dodson or Jos Linn (contact info below) for coaching or any other help you need.
Whether you are attending the RESULTS International Conference or not, let’s ensure that one of the highlights of the conference is a great success. As you know, Tuesday, July 24 is Lobby Day, where volunteers from the conference go up to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress and their staff about making poverty history. After a day of successful lobby meetings, RESULTS holds a reception on Capitol Hill for our volunteers and special guests. It gives volunteers to share about their lobby meetings while enjoying some good food. It serves as a great ending to the conference.
As part of the agenda for the reception, members of Congress will attend and speak to our volunteers about the importance of citizen advocacy and the need to make ending poverty a priority. They do a great job of inspiring us and reminding us how important our work is to theirs. We want to make sure this year’s Conference Reception is another great success, but we need your help.
Just like lobbying on our issues, members of Congress respond best to requests from constituents. Therefore, we urge you to send an invitation letter to them. Whether you are coming to the conference or not, please invite them to come. Help us fill the room with members of Congress at the reception!
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to send your House and Senate members an invitation to the RESULTS International Conference Lobby Day Reception on Capitol Hill. We have a sample letter you can download from the RESULTS website and tailor to your specific request. Send the letters to their schedulers in their DC offices; you can find their names on our Elected Official page. Within 48 hours, be sure to follow up to see if they received the request and what the status is.
Thank you for your help in making our conference another one to remember!
If you could get 15 minutes with your members of Congress, what would you say? What issues would you tell them are important to you? Well, the next few weeks give you the chance to do just that. The upcoming RESULTS International Conference 2012 and congressional summer recess, you have a great opportunity to put the issue of poverty right in front of Congress.
Already, advocates are setting up meetings during Lobby Day at the conference. On July 24, the message to Congress will be delivered loud and clear — make poverty history! If you are attending the RESULTS conference in DC, July 21-24 (there’s still time to register) but have not scheduled your meetings yet, please get your requests in for face-to-face meetings now. We are only three weeks away from Lobby Day and if you want that coveted in-person meetings, call now to set it up. See our Activist Toolkit for tips on requesting meetings. Once you have a meeting scheduled, please fill out our Lobby Meeting report form to list each one of your meetings
Furthermore, both the House and Senate will be on recess from August 6 through Labor Day. This is a great time to meet with members of Congress, especially as we gear up for election season and they are talking about the issues more publicly. Put in your request now to meet with representatives and senators during these home district visits.
The issue to focus on is again the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). As you well know, we have to repeat our requests over and over again so meeting with members of Congress this month or next gives us the chance to follow up on our letters from last month about protecting working families who rely on the EITC and CTC to make ends meet. Remind then that these tax credits are pro-work, pro-family, and pro-economy. Use the July Action for talking points and background info for your meetings.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to contact your members of Congress to set up face-to-face meetings, including at the RESULTS International Conference and during the August recess. Be sure to follow up a few days later to confirm that the schedulers received your requests and to check on the status. You can find contact info on our Elected Officials page. Use the July Action for information on the EITC and CTC to discuss in your meetings. And be sure to take our 2012 Request and Background sheets covering low-income tax credits, the Saver’s Bonus, and Head Start and child care. If you get a meeting scheduled or plan to attend a town hall, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you and your group prepare.
Even if you’re meeting with them at the conference, still put in your request for another meeting during the summer recess. It gives other members in your group to be a part of the meeting and also gives you the chance to follow up on your requests made at the conference.
Unless you just returned from Mars, you are well aware that last Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a 5-4 opinion, the Court ruled that the requirement for all Americans to secure health insurance coverage beginning in 2014 was a valid use of Congress’ taxing power under the U.S. Constitution. Note that the penalty for those who can afford to purchase health coverage but choose not is estimated to impact only about two percent of the population.
The Court also ruled that the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA was constitutional; however, the federal government may not penalize states who refuse to expand their Medicaid programs by cutting their existing Medicaid funding. That determination increases the chance that states will refuse to expand Medicaid and deprive potentially millions of low-income Americans much-needed health coverage; some governors have already vowed to not expand Medicaid.
Reactions to the ruling have obviously been divided, with health reform advocates celebrating and opponents vowing to fight on. House leaders announced that they would once again vote to repeal the ACA on July 11. RESULTS applauds the Court for upholding the ACA and not taking us back to square one in repairing America’s broken health care system. While we have concerns about how the Medicaid ruling will play out (which will be fought out in individual states), we are pleased with the outcome of the case. Read more details about the ruling on the RESULTS Blog.
TAKE ACTION: Use our online e-mail alert to tell your representatives and senators that you are happy the Supreme Court upheld the ACA and urge them to protect Medicaid going forward. Some in Congress have proposed gutting and restructuring the Medicaid program and doing away with the ACA Medicaid expansion. Tell your members of Congress to stand up for health care for all and protect Medicaid in any deficit reduction efforts.
For a helpful and fun overview of the ACA, see this 10-minute video from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
As RESULTS works to build our presence into all 50 states, you can play a key part by using your network of Facebook friends and Twitter know-how for social change. Join a special training call next week with social media expert Peter Daou on how you can help exponentially build our presence online. We’ll review:
- the basics of posting on Facebook (hint: “Share” posts from https://www.facebook.com/RESULTSEdFund)
- making the most of your RESULTS group’s Facebook page
- building followers for RESULTS Twitter feed
- how to track and amplify Twitter conversations using hashtags, with a focus on building awareness and support for our RESULTS during the International Conference, using #RESULTSconf
- blogging during the International Conference.
TAKE ACTION: Call into our social media training call next Monday, July 9, at 8:00 pm ET at: (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579. Please be in front of a computer or smartphone and logged into Facebook or other social media platforms for the call. If you have questions you want to make sure are answered, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]).
Due to a last minute scheduling issue, we have to move the RESULTS – National Priorities Project (NPP) training call scheduled for last Wednesday evening. We thank everyone for their patience in this last minute change. Here are the corrected date and time:
RESULTS-NPP Training Call
Monday, July 16 at 8:00 pm ET
(866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579
NPP is a federal budget research organization, which helps people understand the local impact of federal dollars. The call is designed to better help you better understand and use this data for upcoming lobby meetings in Washington, DC and your home districts. We will review how to use NPP tools to bring local and state data to the lobby meetings at the RESULTS International Conference or in your home districts. This will be a very informative call and we hope you will join us!
House Labor-HHS Appropriations Markup Scheduled for July 11. As reported last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed it FY 2013 Labor-HHA appropriations bill. This bill included a $70 million increase for Head Start and Early Head Start, and a $160 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. After postponing their markup a few weeks ago, the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee will now meet in July 11 to draft their appropriations bill. We need this bill to also have strong funding levels for Head Start and child care. Urge the Congress to protect early childhood services using our online email alert.
House Ways and Means Committee Hearing Bolsters Need for EITC. The House Ways and Means Committee recently held a Joint Hearing titled “Hearing on How Welfare and Tax Benefits Can Discourage Work”. Despite this opinionated and unsettling title, the hearing highlighted support and possible expansion for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It also showed areas for improvement in our social safety net. RESULTS U.S. Poverty Policy Fellow Katja Kleine attended the hearing and has an excellent summary on the RESULTS Blog.
New Paper Highlights the Benefits of the EITC. Our friends as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) have released and invaluable and comprehensive overview of the benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The paper cites numerous studies showing that the EITC not only encourages work and lifts millions of people out of poverty each year, it helps improve children’s performance in school and helps increase their earnings as adults. As you prepare for lobby meetings in DC and back home, this paper is a must read. It provides ample evidence that investing in tax credits for working families is good for children, good for families, and good for the economy. Use talking points from this paper when taking the July Action and/or contacting legislators using out online e-mail action.
Congratulations to RESULTS Boston bride Cynthia Tschampl and her groom, Kimball Halsey, on their wedding on June 23rd. We are so happy for both of them and grateful that they made RESULTS part of their celebration by asking guests to consider making a donation to RESULTS for an especially meaningful wedding gift. We also look forward to the marriage of Katy Windshill and Rob Marshall — two RESULTS activists in Athens, GA — who will tie the knot on August 3rd. They met at a RESULTS International Conference three years ago and will also be asking their guests to honor the wedding with a contribution to RESULTS. Thank you and congratulations to our brides and grooms who are changing the world with their love and generosity.
There is still time to register for the “Crystal City Twilighter” 5K fun run/walk at the International Conference. Visit our RESULTS Team Fundraising webpage for information about how to register or to make a donation to one of our racers.
RESULTS International Conference — Set Up Lobby Prep Call; Join in the Action from Home
We are less than three weeks away from the start of the RESULTS International Conference! To make sure you have the best experience possible on Lobby Day, July 24, please contact Meredith at [email protected] to set up a “lobby prep” call. These calls are designed to help you create your own lobby meeting strategy for your specific members of Congress. So far, groups in FL, OH, LA, NC, IA, PA, IL, NM, CA, and NJ have done their lobby prep calls, with MT and NY on deck for later this week. These calls are important and helpful so please contact Meredith to schedule your meeting today. If possible, please choose a time for your call that includes everyone in your group who is attending the conference (other members are welcomed to participate as well).
But what if you’re not able to come to the conference? Have no fear; you can still be part of the action and excitement. Here are a few suggestions of actions you can take during the conference from home:
- If one of your group members is coming to DC, write a letter on one of our issues and give it to that person to deliver in person on Capitol Hill
- Take time now to schedule an in-district meeting with your senator or representative for the August recess, per the July Action
- Alert your local media that a fellow activist is making the trek to Washington to speak up and speak out
- Organize folks at home to make calls to congressional offices on Lobby Day (Tuesday, July 24) to support our issues. (See our 2012 Lobby Requests on the RESULTS website (see the green box))
- Tweet with our conference hashtag, #RESULTSConf, and follow the action, too!
U.S. Poverty Background Packet Available This Week. Each year, RESULTS staff drafts a background packet on our issues to help you better prepare for Lobby Day at the International Conference and beyond. We are finalizing the U.S. Poverty background packet and will have it available online by this Friday, July 6. We encourage you to download and print the packet — or save it to your mobile device — and read it before you arrive in Washington, DC (it makes great reading on planes, trains, and automobiles). You’ll find the packet on the RESULTS website. NOTE: We will not be printing off packets for everyone at the conference so please bring your own copy.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: June 30 – July 8, August 4 – September 9. Senate: July 2 – 6, August 6 – September 7. Request face-to-face meetings.
Wednesday, July 4: Independence Day. All RESULTS offices closed.
Wednesday, July 11: RESULTS Introductory Call. 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.
Saturday, July 14: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Monday, July 16: RESULTS-NPP Training Call on Using State Data in Lobby Meetings, 8:00 pm ET. (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579.
Tuesday, July 17: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 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]
- Tavia Benjamin, 2012 Emerson Hunger Fellow, [email protected]
- Allison Burkett, 2012 Emerson Hunger Fellow, [email protected]
- Ann Jacob, U.S. Poverty Intern, [email protected]
- Katja Kleine, U.S. Poverty Intern, [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.