U.S. Poverty Weekly Update June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012

Ninety dollars per month may not seem like a lot of money to some people. But if you are a parent who’s trying to protect your children and feed them good, wholesome, nutritious food, it means everything in the world.

—Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on proposed SNAP cuts passed by the Senate last week

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Got Two Minutes? Urge Others to Protect Tax Credits for Working Families (June Action)

Thank you to everyone who has submitted letters or email this month urging Congress to protect working families who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Let’s finish out June with a strong last push of letters from our groups and your networks reminding Congress that U.S. tax policy should reward work over wealth and families over profits.

On the June RESULTS National Conference Call, we committed to sending in 126 letters this month; let’s meet and exceed that goal!. Once you’ve submitted your letters, check in with your fellow group members to see if they have as well; if they haven’t, encourage them to get their letters in this week. Also, send the e-mail alert out to your local action networks urging friends and family to take action!

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send an e-mail to Congress urging representatives and senators to protect the EITC and CTC. Send a strong message that our tax code should reward work over wealth. If you’ve already sent in your letters, check in with your group members to see if they have as well. Send out our email alert to your local action networks urging other to take action too. You can copy and paste the message below into an e-mail to send out:

Dear Friend,

I am working with RESULTS this month to help protect low-income children and their families. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit are two of the most effective tools we have in lifting families and children out of poverty. These credits promote work, strengthen families, and support our economy. Yet if Congress doesn’t act this year, recent improvements to these tax credits will disappear, putting millions at risk of falling into poverty.

It’s time to tell Congress to reward work over wealth by supporting tax credits for working families. Please take two minutes and send an email to your representative and senators urging them to protect the EITC and CTC. You can use RESULTS’ online email alert to send your letter TODAY!

Thank you for standing up for America’s working families.

For more resources to help you better advocate for the EITC and CTC, see our June 19 Weekly Update with a list of tax credit tools and resources.

Got Ten Minutes? Set Up Face-to-Face Meetings for DC and at Home

With the approaching 2012 RESULTS International Conference and the August recess, the next two months are going to provide many opportunities to get face-time with members of Congress. But just as the early bird gets the worm, we have to get our requests in now as their schedules fill up very quickly.

If you are attending the RESULTS conference in DC, July 21-24 (there’s still time to register), please get your requests in for face-to-face meetings for Lobby Day, July 24. See our Activist Toolkit for tips on requesting meetings. See the U.S. Poverty IC sample meeting request letter on our website. Once you have a meeting scheduled, please fill out our Lobby Meeting report form so we can track all the meetings taking place at the conference. Also, please contact Meredith at [email protected] to set up a call to help you prepare for your lobby meetings at the conference. These calls are very helpful in crafting your meeting strategy for your specific members of Congress. 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).

If you are not attending the conference, contact schedulers and request a meeting for the upcoming congressional recesses. Both the House and Senate will be on recess next week, as well as for several weeks in August and early September. Put in your request now to meet with representatives and senators during these home district visits (see next section for other lobby opportunities during next week’s recess).

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to contact your members of Congress to set up face-to-face meetings for the July 4 recess week, the RESULTS International Conference, and/or 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. In your meetings, remember 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.

Got Twenty Minutes? Plan to Talk to Legislators at Town Hall or July 4 Events

In addition to putting in face-to-face requests, next week’s congressional recess presents another unique opportunity to talk to members of Congress. The Independence Day holiday is a week when legislators tend to make numerous public appearances. In addition to holding town hall events, many communities hold local Independence Day parades. Politicians, particularly in an election year, will many times appear in these parades. This gives you the chance to talk with them for a few minutes about our issues. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of this experience:

  • 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.

It’s that simple. Don’t be shy — legislators expect (and many times welcome) people coming up to them at these events to talk to them. Also remember that political candidates may also appear at these events. Be sure to also approach them and ask for their position on our issues.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to contact your members of Congress about town halls and other public events during next week’s July 4 recess and then plan to attend. You can find local contact info on our Elected Officials page. Don’t forget to ask if they will be making any parade appearances in your area. If you do plan to attend an event to ask a question, please feel free to contact Meredith Dodson or Jos Linn (contact info below) for coaching or any other help you need.

Join Tomorrow’s Training Call on Using Local Data in Your Advocacy

The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a federal budget research organization, which helps people understand the local impact of federal dollars. The NPP database has two types of information: social indicators (e.g. unemployment rates) and federal expenditures (e.g. amount spent on unemployment insurance). These tools can be used to obtain data on various issues such as, SNAP, Head start, and other programs by state and county.

To help better understand and use this data for upcoming lobby meetings in Washington DC and your home districts, RESULTS will be holding a training call with NPP tomorrow night. The call 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!

RESULTS-NPP Training Call

Wednesday, June 27 at 8:00 pm ET

(866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579

Senate Farm Bill Passes with SNAP Cuts Included

The Farm Bill passed last Thursday in the Senate by a vote of 64-35. Unfortunately, the Senate soundly rejected the Gillibrand Amendment that would have restored the $4.5 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by a vote of 33-66. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), an estimated 500,000 households a year will lose $90 per month in SNAP benefits because of this cut, meaning more hungry children and families facing the possibility of lost meals.

Fortunately, the Senate also rejected a number of very damaging amendments that would have cut SNAP much deeper and/or severely restricted eligibility for the program. Our friends at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) said it best: “The attacks by some lawmakers on the strongest part of the safety net for millions of low-income seniors, working parents and other adults, unemployed families with children, people with disabilities, members of the Armed Services and veterans, and others were outrageous.” You can see the Roll Call votes for some of these amendments at the FRAC website.

The issue now goes to the House, which is expected to begin work on their version of the Farm Bill on July 11. Considering the House has already passed $36 billion in cuts to SNAP, it will take a strong push from advocates to make sure Congress limits the cuts to SNAP to what the Senate passed.

TAKE ACTION: If your Senator(s) voted in favor of the Gillibrand Amendment, be sure to call and thank them for their vote. Tell them we will need their voice(s) as the debate moves forward to prevent even further harmful cuts to SNAP that will only hurt hungry children and families. You can find contact info on our Elected Officials page. Also, use our online e-mail alert to tell your members of Congress to protect SNAP and other nutrition programs as they work to finalize a Farm Bill this year.

Quick News

Urge Congressional Aides to Attend Faithful Budget Briefing on Thursday. The Interreligious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs’ (DHN) is sponsoring a “Faithful Alternatives to the Sequester” Forum this Thursday, June 28. The forum will host a diverse panel comprised of professional economists and theologians, who will discuss the need to replace the sequester (automatic budget cuts to begin in January 2013) with a balanced package that includes revenues and protects poor and vulnerable populations. The event is co-sponsored by Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3) and Keith Ellison (D-MN-5). Speakers include Steve Schneck, Catholic University; Diane Lim Rogers, Concord Coalition; Richard Kogan, Center on Budget Policy Priorities; and Rabbi David Saperstein. The event is this Thursday, June 28, 9:30am – 11:00am ET, Capitol Visitor Center, S217, East Capitol St NE & First St in Washington, DC. Please contact your House and Senate offices and urge the budget aides to attend this important briefing. You can find aide names and contact info on our Elected Officials page.

House Labor-HHS Appropriations Markup Postponed. 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. The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee was expected to markup their FY 2013 bill last week, but decided to postpone until after Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, which will affect how they allocate funding. The House Labor HHS Committee is now expected to mark up their Labor-HHS bill the week of July 9. Urge the Congress to protect early childhood services using our online email alert.

New Survey Shows Big Savings Gap. As reported by CNN, more Americans are going without savings to cushion against financial emergencies and hardships. A survey of 1,000 adults show that 28 percent of all Americans have no savings whatsoever and 49 percent don’t have enough to cover more than three months of expenses. “Incomes are largely stagnant, so it’s difficult for people to make significant headway on savings when household expenses are creeping higher but incomes are not,” said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for www.bankrate.com. RESULTS strongly supports asset-building strategies like the Saver’s Bonus as a way to help low-income households build the savings needed to weather financial emergencies.

Health Reform Ruling Expected Thursday. Advocates, lawmakers and the media are anxiously awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is expected to be released sometime Thursday morning. With the constitutionality of the Medicaid expansion on the line, a bad ruling will have a tremendous impact on millions of low-income Americans. We will keep you updated as the ruling comes down.

Fundraising News

The race is on! All walkers and runners are invited to participate in a fun new part of the RESULTS International Conference. We’re holding the “Crystal City Twilighter 5K” race at the conference near the DoubleTree-Crystal City at 8:30 pm ET on June 21 (it follows the Saturday evening conference kickoff session). Maps to the race will be included in the conference folders, so every one can cheer us along the way. Here is how:

  1. Register for the race at this link Crystal City Twilighter 5K. The cost is $40. Also, please let Cindy Levin know at [email protected] if you will be participating.
  2. Join our Twilighter 5K fundraising team and create your own fundraising website on the RESULTS Race to End Poverty Site
  3. Invite all your friends to donate and hit the road to train for your run/walk!

If you are coming to the conference, we hope you will plan to run, walk, or cheer with us. If you will not be at the conference, we hope you will sponsor a “Twilighter” at the conference.

RESULTS International Conference — Book Your Hotel Rooms Before Monday!

REGISTER for the 2012 RESULTS International Conference TODAY!

We are now less than four weeks from the start of the 2012 RESULTS International Conference, an event that promises to be one of our best conferences yet. It’s not too late to add your name to the list of 300 advocates from around the world who are attending this year’s conference to use their voices for the end of poverty. Be a part of something special by registering TODAY!

Please Invite Members of Congress to the IC Reception. If you are attending the conference, please take a few minutes to invite your members of Congress to attend and speak at the Lobby Day Reception on July 24. This is one of the highlights of the conference and we want a strong congressional presence there. Please take a few minutes send invitations today. You can use our customizable invitation letter to invite them. Please contact RESULTS staff if you have any questions.

Last Week to Book Your Hotel Room at Discounted Rate! If you are coming to DC, please be sure to book your hotel room at the DoubleTree – Crystal City as soon as possible. The discounted rate ($155 per night plus tax) for rooms during our conference expires this Monday, July 2. If you book your room after Monday, there is no guarantee that you will get the discounted rate you will get a room or that you will get a room (the hotel will open up our block to other guests). Don’t be late — book your room today!

REGISTER for the 2012 RESULTS International Conference TODAY!

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(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, June 27: RESULTS-NPP Training Call on Using State Data in Lobby Meetings, 8:00 pm ET. (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579.

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.

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].

Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Register TODAY!

RESULTS Contact Information

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:

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.

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