U.S. Poverty Weekly Update July 9, 2013

July 9, 2013

If food stamps are cut, more will go hungry.

– RESULTS San Jose volunteer Georgia Platts in a July 6 letter to the editor in the Mercury News

People may think that their voice counts for nothing, but that’s not true.

– RESULTS Columbus volunteer Dr. Annette Boer  in a July 6 letter to the editor in the Columbus Dispatch

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 with Rachel Black

As we work to set up face-to-face meetings this month both at our upcoming International Conference and the August recess, join us for the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call this Saturday, July 13 at 12:30 pm ET. This month’s conference call will focus on key topic areas you want to discuss in your lobby meetings. In particular, this month provides a unique opportunity to highlight the issue of low-income asset development. RESULTS knows that savings and assets are an important ladder out of poverty, but sometimes it can be a tricky topic to sell to Congress. To help us, we are pleased to have Rachel Black, a senior policy analyst in the Asset Building Program at the New American Foundation. She has done extensive work with asset limits for welfare programs, federal spending in support of asset building objectives and initiative to increase savings at tax-time. Rachel will get us up to speed on building assets and help us hone our message for lawmakers. We’ll also highlight what to expect at the RESULTS International Conference and provide you updates on what happening with the Farm Bill and Head Start. Please 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, July 13 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 July 2013 Conference Call Overview slides available later this week. Go to the RESULTS Home Page under RESULTS News to download the presentation before the call.

Got Ten Minutes? Set Up Face-to-Face Meetings with Members of Congress (July Action)

With SNAP under attack, tax reform looming and early childhood center across the country experiencing cuts, now is an ideal time to get a face-to-face meeting. Face-to-face meetings with constituents are the most effective way to influence members of Congress. It is also a very integral part of building a relationship with your elected officials and their staff.

We have two key opportunities to weigh in with legislators coming up. The RESULTS International Conference which begins at the end of next week (July 20-23) will bring RESULTS volunteers from all over the world to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress. Many members of Congress go out of their way to meet face-to-face with constituents who come to Washington. If you are attending this year’s conference (it’s not too late to register), be sure to contact the schedulers for your representatives and senators to schedule a meeting while you’re there. Lobby Day is Tuesday, June 23.

Also, members of Congress will be on recess most of the month of August. This is another opportunity to weigh in on important poverty issues with them while they are home. These in-district meetings are as effective as meeting in Washington. In fact, they can actually be more effective because they give all your group members and community allies, who perhaps cannot go to DC, the opportunity to participate.

Once you get your meetings scheduled, please enter them into our Lobby Meeting tracking form.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to take the July Action and set up your face-to-face meetings for the RESULTS International Conference, the August recess, or both. Start by calling the DC scheduler and asking:

Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a constituent of Rep./Sen. _________________ from _________________. I am also a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots group working to end hunger and poverty. RESULTS has a proven track record of working with legislators from all backgrounds to support smart and cost-effective policies to break the cycle of poverty. I know that Rep./Sen. _________________ values input from constituents on the issues that matter to us. With that in mind, our local RESULTS group would like to schedule a meeting with Rep./Sen.______________ while I am in Washington D.C. on July 23 (or when he/she is home for the upcoming August recess.) Would it be possible to set that up today? There will be at least ____ of us at the meeting and we would like to discuss ___________________ (see topics in the July Action). What times would he/she be available to meet?

If the scheduler wants your request in writing, download our Lobby Meeting Request letter for e-mails and faxes, and tailor it to your specific request. You can find DC scheduler names, local contact information, and website links on our Elected Officials page. Be sure to also print off a 2013 Lobby Meeting Planning and Reporting Form to help you prepare for and summarize your meeting (also available as a PDF).

If you get a meeting set up, please contact RESULTS U.S. Poverty Staff for help preparing. Also plan to take our 2013 Lobby Meetings Requests found on our U.S Poverty Campaigns page (note: for conference attendees, we will have copies of these for you at the conference).If you have not set up a lobby prep call with our staff to get ready for your conference lobby meetings, please contact Ann Beltran ([email protected]) to schedule one.

Got Twenty Minutes? Push for a Tax Code that Reduces Poverty

Tax reform is continuing to build momentum and now is the time to tell your elected officials to protect hardworking, low-income families. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have circulated a letter in the Senate urging their colleagues to share their tax opinions by July 26. They want to start with a “blank slate.” This means a tax code devoid of loopholes and special provisions unless they (1) help grow the economy, (2) make the tax code fairer, or (3) effectively promote other important policy objectives. We know that “special provisions” such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) clearly meet those criteria; now we just have to make sure Congress knows it too. The EITC and CTC increase economic growth combat other regressive taxes and lift more people out of poverty than any other program. Clearly we can’t afford to lose these provisions.

Tax reform also gives us a change to be on the offense and raise awareness of asset building work. RESULTS supports enacting the Family Financial Security Credit (FFSC). This innovative 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 incentivize participation, the government matches the savings up to $500 a year. The FFSC utilizes opportunity, simplicity and reward to nudge people along the path of financial security.

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. Also urge them to promote asset development policies as part of tax reform, including the Family Financial Security Credit. You can use our tax and assets lobby request sheet for more information on what to request.

You can also voice your opinion 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 thoughts and stories about tax reform. Use this resource 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.

It’s Not Too Late to Register for the RESULTS International Conference

Can you believe it? The RESULTS International Conference starts next week, July 20. We have an exciting agenda planned. Here are just a few of the exciting speakers scheduled to speak:

  • Prof. Muhammad Yunus: Nobel Peace Prize winner, founder of the Grameen Bank.
  • Ambassador Tony Hall: former U.N. Ambassador on Food and Agriculture and former Democratic member of Congress from Ohio.
  • Congressman Jim Walsh: former Republican member of Congress from New York.
  • Jim Weill, President of the Food Research and Action Center.
  • Dr. Mariana Chilton: Associate Professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health, Director for the Center for Hunger-Free Communities and founder of the Witness to Hunger program.
  • Anthony Lake: Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

It’s not too late to reserve your spot to hear these and other great speakers at our conference. Register today!

If you are coming to the conference, please take these steps to prepare for your trip. If they look familiar, this is the same list as last week – they are that important!

  • Read the U.S. Poverty Campaigns Packet. Each year, we prepare a comprehensive packet on our U.S. Poverty issues for the conference. We just finished the packet and you can download it 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 Ann Beltran ([email protected]) to schedule a time to talk.

As always, if you have any questions about the conference or need help with setting up lobby meetings, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Katja Kleine ([email protected]). We look forward to seeing you in DC next weekend!

Rally4Babies Highlights the Need for Early Learning Investments

RESULTS believes in investing in early childhood programs such as Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care. Yesterday, RESULTS co-sponsored the Rally4Babies: Learning Happens from the Start, a national virtual baby rally sponsored by Zero to Three . Rally4Babies was held as a way to rally Americans across the country to urge and push for Congress to invest in early learning for babies and toddlers.

The rally opened with a performance from child musician Laurie Berkner who was also a speaker for the event. Speakers for the rally included Executive Director of Zero to Three, Matthew Melmed, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Alma Powell, Chair of the Board of America’s Promise Alliance. The speakers for the event all did exceptional jobs in showing the critical need for early learning programs. Melmed stated that learning that takes place between birth to age five sets the foundation for later success in life and in school. Whether that foundation is strong or fragile depends on the experiences and relationships that a child has as a baby. Secretary Sebelius stated that on average by age three, economically advantaged children know 1,100 words while economically disadvantaged children know only 500 words. We must put an end to this education gap and the way to do that is by making quality education accessible to all children despite their economic ranking. She also urged that states continue to push their representatives and Senate members to support President Obama’s plan to invest in early learning.

The children of today are the backbone of the economy of tomorrow. Our economic security lies with them. The only way to ensure that every child has a fair chance at a successful life and will be a contributor to the economics of tomorrow is to ensure that all children start off with the same tools. See more about the work to expand early learning in this article from Nation of Change.

TAKE ACTION: Join RESULTS as we continue to push for investments in early childhood development programs. Read this important article about how sequestration cuts are hurting Head Start families and then urge your members of Congress to support investments in Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care using our early learning e-mail alert.

In case you missed it, watch a YouTube recording of the Rally4Babies and share it with others.

Continue to Support SNAP in the Media

The fight to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is not over. Although we are still not sure how Congress will proceed, we need to keep the pressure up and continue to make our voices heard in the media. Sharing your support for SNAP in the media not only catches the attention of your member of Congress, but it also brings awareness of a RESULTS issue to your community. People need to know that the House Farm Bill included $21 billion in cuts and was struck down late last month.

SNAP lifted 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2011. And new research shows that it might be doing a whole lot more. In an article on the Spotlight on Poverty website, researchers show that adults who had access to SNAP when they were young had better overall reported health, lower rates of obesity, and lower reported rates of chronic condition, including diabetes. Women had increased high school attainment, higher earning, and reduced reliance on the safety net as adults.

TAKE ACTION: Keep the drumbeat going in our work to protect hungry children and families. Write and submit a letter to the editor, op-ed, or editorial in your local paper urging your members of Congress to protect SNAP. We’ve had 28 SNAP media pieces published since June 1, only 2 away from our goal. Let’s push it over the finish line. Use the June Action to help write your media pieces or our updated online LTE alert to send your message today.

For more information about SNAP and the Farm Bill, see our Recent Developments in Nutrition and Health Legislation page and our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary.

Quick News

Bill Moyers' Blog Urges Readers to Join the Fight Against Poverty. Our June 2013 conference call guest and this year’s recipient of the RESULTS Cameron Duncan Media Award Greg Kaufmann recently highlighted organizations committed to ending poverty on Bill Moyers' blog. He included RESULTS in the list. We thank Greg for his support and great work in highlighting poverty in the media. Read his weekly blog, This Week in Poverty, on the Nation magazine website.

RESULTS Fundraising Update

Register today for the Everyday Hero Virtual Dash, a virtual fundraising run/walk event to celebrate and support our RESULTS volunteer advocates at the International Conference. Here is how it works: you choose your date, time, and distance to dash up until July 28 and you earn a really cool hero medal! Participants who are actually in DC on July 21 can dash with us in person and in superhero costume (optional) at 7:00 am from the conference hotel for a 1 mile or 5K run/walk. Registration is $25 and includes a race bib and a hero medal to forever remind you how important your support is to people in need. No need to ask people to sponsor you, but it can be a great outreach activity to ask your friends to participate, too, and be heroes themselves!

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: August 5 – September 6. Request face-to-face meetings.

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 #).

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

Wednesday, September 18: RESULTS Kansas City Outreach Meeting, 7:00 pm CT. For more details, contact Jos Linn at (515) 288-3622, [email protected]. See more on Facebook.

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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