U.S. Poverty Weekly Update June 25, 2013
Hunger is still a real problem in America and SNAP is the first line of defense against it.
— RESULTS Buffalo volunteer Bruce Davidson in a June 22, 2013 letter to the editor
Not a single member of Congress is eligible for food assistance. Perhaps each of them should try to eat on $4 per day. This might provide the insight they appear to desperately need.
— June 20 Des Moines Register editorial (RESULTS Des Moines worked to get this published)
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
- Got Two Minutes? Tell Your Representative that Farm Bill Vote Was a Victory for Families
- Got Ten Minutes? Get Some Face Time with Legislators During Next Week’s Recess
- Got Twenty Minutes? Your Media Success is Working — Keep It Up! (June Action)
Latest from Washington, DC
- Invite People to RESULTS Meeting in Orange County, California, Tomorrow Night
- Share Your Thoughts about Tax Reform
- RESULTS International Conference
- Quick News
You did it! Because of your advocacy, last Thursday the House defeated H.R.1947, the House Farm Bill, by a vote of 195-234. This rejection centered on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The $21 billion in SNAP cuts were too deep for many legislators, while others felt the cut were not deep enough. This unlikely coalition was enough to defeat the bill. This outcome was a surprise to many and no one knows for sure what will happen next. One thing we know for sure is that the debate is far from over (see more details below).
Thanks to everyone who made calls, sent e-mails, attended town halls, and published media on behalf of hungry children and families. We applaud the members of Congress who listened to you and stood up for America’s hungry families. This is a victory for all Americans.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to contact your representative about the House Farm Bill vote. Use our updated e-mail alert to send your message today. If your representative voted against the House Farm Bill, send her him/a thank you note for voting no and urge him/her to remain vigilant in protecting SNAP. If your representative voted for the bill, express your disappointment and remind him/her that cutting SNAP is very unpopular back home. You can use our Farm Bill vote page to see how your representative voted.
Both the House and Senate on are recess next week. This recess comes at a perfect time during the debate around the future of SNAP. With last week’s Farm Bill defeat in the House, leaders in Congress are scrambling to salvage this process. Congress must act before September 30, when the current Farm Bill expires, which means the fight to protect SNAP is far from over. The July 4 recess gives us the opportunity to thank members of Congress who have supported SNAP and remind all our elected officials that cutting SNAP is not only bad policy, it is bad politics.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to call your local or DC schedulers about meeting with legislators during next week’s recess. Re-submit your requests to meet with them face-to-face during the recess. Also, ask the scheduler if your members of Congress will be making any public appearances. 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.
Remember parades! 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. RESULTS volunteers have used this tactic before with success.
If you get a meeting set up or plan to attend town hall meeting, please contact the 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).
Got Twenty Minutes? Your Media Success is Working — Keep It Up! (June Action)
The House struck down its Farm Bill (H.R.1947) last week, 195-234. The House bill contained $21 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This House bill was a frontal assault on low-income families by forcing nearly 2 million people off SNAP, denying 210,000 children meals at school, and reducing benefits by $90 per month for 850,000 households. And that’s just what the bill looked like before debate began. During the House debate, things got much worse.
- Rep. Jim McGovern’s amendment to undo the $20.5 billion in SNAP cuts was rejected, 188-234.
- Rep. Richard Hudson’s amendment to require drug testing of SNAP recipients passed by a voice vote.
- Rep. Steve Southerland’s amendment to let state’s impose harsh work requirements on SNAP recipients passed, 227-198.
In the end, 24 Democrats supported the bill and 62 Republicans voted against it (many of the Republicans who voted no did so because they felt the cuts to SNAP were not deep enough). The defeat of the House Farm Bill was a surprise to most people. As a result, no one is quite sure what will happen next. The House could try again with a new Farm Bill or take up the Senate Farm Bill, although House leadership has so far ruled out the latter option. The House and Senate could also try to extend the current Farm Bill again, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said yesterday that the Senate would not consider another extension. Despite this uncertainty, we do know is that this debate is far from over. The current Farm Bill extension expires on September 30. Congress will have to do something before then, which means the threats to SNAP are still very real. We must therefore remain vigilant in telling Congress to protect SNAP.
This makes our media work this month all that more important. We’ve had a very successful month so far. RESULTS volunteers have gotten 20 media pieces published about SNAP (17 letters to the editor, one article, one op-ed, and one editorial published). You can bet that your media success certainly got the attention of lawmakers. Continuing the drum beat about protecting SNAP will help us shape the process moving forward. If they see that constituents are continuing to talk about the importance of SNAP and how SNAP cuts helped doom the House bill, they’ll think twice before trying the same thing again.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to complete the June Action — submit letters to the editor, op-eds, and generate editorials in your local papers urging your members of Congress to protect SNAP. have updated our online LTE alert to reflect the House vote so if your letter has yet to be printed, consider submitting an updated version. Remember that Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap and the Center on Budget’s SNAP state fact sheets are good resources for your media pieces.
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 celebrate your success.
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.
RESULTS volunteers along with RESULTS staff member Jos Linn are hosting a RESULTS Outreach Meeting in Orange County, CA tomorrow night. This is a great opportunity to get a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty group started in the Los Angeles area. We all saw in the House last week what a strong network of advocates did on the Farm Bill. Imagine what we can do with even more people taking up the cause. Tomorrow’s meeting will include an overview of RESULTS, an update on our legislative work, and an advocacy training. At the end, we’ll invite anyone interested to form a new group. If you know anyone in the LA area, please invite them to attend (you can even invite them via Facebook). All are welcome. The meeting is tomorrow, June 26 at 7:00 — 9:00 pm PT at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, 1100 S Center St, Santa Ana, CA. For more information, please contact Jos at [email protected].
Outreach in Other Areas
Jos is also working with advocates to get a group started in the Kansas City area. He will be helping host an Outreach Meeting there 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. If you or someone you know lives in these 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].
As always, if you know people near you or far away who would make great advocates, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for help in getting them connected to RESULTS.
Everybody has strong opinions about taxes, and as RESULTS volunteers, we know that low-income tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) are vitally important for hard-working families. With talk of a complete tax overhaul building in Washington, we want to make sure lawmakers who write the changes hear our opinions and thoughts. In fact, they are urging us to.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4) have set up a website for you to share any your thoughts about tax reform. Just as we did in April, this is a great opportunity to influence the tax reform debate. We want to make sure the messages Sen. Baucus and Rep. Camp include ones strongly supportive of the EITC and CTC.
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. For more information about the importance of asset development for low-income families, and how asset policy can sometimes contradict itself in anti-poverty programs, see this excellent RESULTS Blog post from Katja Kleine.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to strengthen and expand the EITC and CTC in tax reform. Go to www.taxreform.gov to share your thoughts and stories about the importance of tax credits for working families. Refer back to the April Action sheet for talking points about the EITC and CTC. Here are some requests you can include on the form:
- Make the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent
- Increase the EITC for workers with no children
- Create a Family Financial Security Credit to help families save as part of tax reform
If you use Twitter, you can also let them know your thoughts and follow them @simplertaxes. In addition, send a message to your members of Congress about protecting tax credits for working families using our tax credit e-mail alert.
See the latest about our Economic Opportunity Campaign on the Recent Developments in Economic Opportunity Legislation and our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary.
REGISTER today for this year’s RESULTS International Conference!
We’re less than four weeks from the RESULTS International Conference. Be sure to check out the conference agenda to see the great sessions and speakers we have in store. Also, if you have not reserved your hotel room yet, please do so this week. The block of rooms set aside for conference attendees will close next Monday, July 1. After that, there is no guarantee you can get the discounted room rate. Don’t snooze and then lose — register today!
For attendees, don’t forget to start working on these items now:
- Set Up your Face-to-Face Lobby Meetings. Lobby Day is Tuesday, July 23. Start scheduling your meetings with members of Congress now; you don’t want to lose your chance at an in-person meeting. 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 coordinate with your group on some dates and times when staff could speak with you. Contact Jos Linn ([email protected], (515) 288-3622) to schedule a time to talk.
- Invite your members of Congress to the Lobby Day Reception. The lobby Day Reception in July 23 is a great opportunity to interact with advocates, policymakers, and leaders. Prof. Muhammad Yunus is our featured speaker this year. Invite your members of Congress to attend the reception using our customizable invitation letter.
- U.S. Poverty Campaigns Packet Available Soon. Each year, we prepare a comprehensive packet on our U.S. Poverty issues for the conference. We are finalizing the packet and will have it available to download no later than July 8 (if not sooner). We’ll let you know as soon as it is available.
Join the Rally4Babies on July 8. As part of our work supporting early learning, RESULTS is cosponsoring the Rally4Babies: Learning Happens from the Start, a national virtual baby rally on July 8. The event is part of the Strong Start for Children: Building America’s Future and is being sponsored by Zero to Three. The purpose is to mobilize people across the country to demand that early learning investments begin with babies and toddlers. The rally will include Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. People will be able to participate in the event where ever they are on YouTube using Google+ Hangouts on Air. Show your support by signing a petition calling for more investments in early learning services. For more information and how you can participate, visit http://rally4babies.org/virtual-rally/. Also, tell your members of Congress to support continued investments in Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care using our early learning e-mail alert.
KIDS COUNT Report Released. This week, the 2013 KIDS COUNT Report was released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The annual report is designed to gauge child well-being in the U.S. The report ranks states in several categories: economic well-being, education, health, family and community, and overall well-being. This year’s data book shows that progress has been made on child well-being but there is still much room for improvement. The U.S. experienced progress in the education and health but suffered setbacks in the economic well-being and family and community. This is due to the continued high unemployment rate and the lasting effects of the Great Recession. The report states that “improving outcomes for all children is essential for our nation to remain strong, stable and globally competitive” and that one of the most cost-effective strategies to do so is to reach the highest-risk kids in their earliest years. See the report for more information and description about 16 indicators used. You can also see state-by-state profiles that contain current and trending data using the KIDS COUNT Data Center.
Congratulations and thanks to RESULTS Denver’s Bob Sample who has hosted another successful fundraising dinner for RESULTS! Bob has teamed up with a good friend and RESULTS donor in his area to treat his guests to a gourmet meal in a beautiful setting at her home. He has ushered in many major and recurring donors over the years using this model to foster a love of RESULTS with his personal friends. This year, Bob acted as the emcee between some amazing video clips of poverty-fighting celebrities singing the praises of RESULTS and assuring their own commitment to ending poverty worldwide. Bob raised over $6,000 that at the event with more expected as he makes follow-up calls to his friends who could not attend the event. Congratulations, Bob, and thank you!
If you would like to host your own house party using the great celebrity videos of Dr. Jim Kim, former Senator Bob Bennett, and Professor Muhammad Yunus lauding the work of RESULTS, please contact Cindy Changyit Levin at [email protected].
Join RESULTS Introductory Call on Friday. If you want to learn more about RESULTS, attend our next RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30–45 minute calls provide a brief overview of RESULTS and information on how you can get involved. If you or someone you know would be a great advocate for the end of poverty, invite them to register for the call this Friday, June 28 at 1:00 pm ET. You can register for this or another upcoming Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: July 1–5. Request face-to-face meetings.
Wednesday, June 26: RESULTS Orange County (CA) Outreach Meeting, 7:00pm PT. Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, 1100 S. Center St in Santa Ana. For more details, contact Jos Linn at (515) 288-3622, [email protected]. See more on Facebook.
Friday, June 28: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.
Thursday, July 4: Independence Day. All RESULTS offices closed.
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.
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:
- Jos Linn, Acting Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
- Jenny Martin, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, New England, (413) 772-9596, [email protected]
- Myrdin Thompson, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, South, (502) 295-1315, [email protected]
- Ann Beltran, U.S. Poverty Policy Consultant, [email protected]
- Katja Kleine, U.S. Poverty Campaigns Consultant, [email protected]
- Errolyn Gray, U.S. Poverty Campaigns Intern, [email protected], (202) 783-7100 x142
- Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Development Associate, (773) 236-7758, [email protected]
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.