U.S. Poverty Weekly Update March 22, 2016

March 22, 2016

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | March 22, 2016

“We have the responsibility to take action about those injustices, and we can address these issues with our senators and members of Congress.”

– RESULTS Minneapolis volunteer Paul Hoffinger in a March 3 letter to the editor in the Sun ThisWeek

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Build on Recent Tax Victory – Urge Congress to Expand the EITC and Child Tax Credit

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Contact House and Senate Schedulers about Meetings and Town Halls During Recess

Senators are home this week (and next) and House member will be heading home later this week for a three-week recess. Take advantage of this time by setting up face-to-face meetings with them and attending their town halls to talk about expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without children. With taxes due in just a few weeks, this is a great time to highlight that these workers are actually taxed into poverty. If you haven’t sent them already, use these meetings and events to hand-deliver your letters on expanding the EITC. Americans like to complain about how much time members of Congress take off from Washington; put them to work back home by setting up meetings today.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to contact your House and Senate schedulers about setting up meetings for this month’s congressional recesses. You can find scheduler names on our Elected Officials page and a sample meeting request on our website. If you cannot get a sit-down meeting, ask if they will be doing any town halls or public events that you can attend. Once you get a meeting set, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to set up a lobby prep call to help you get ready for it. Be sure to also read and print out of 2016 Lobby Meeting Request Sheets (bottom of box at right on our U.S. Poverty Campaigns page); you will want to give them to your members of Congress when you see them.

If you’ve had a recent meeting with your member of Congress, use this time to follow up with his/her DC staff to check on the status of your recent request. Also, please let us know how your meetings go (or went) by filling out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form at: www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF.

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Got Ten Minutes? Tell Congress to Stop Taxing Workers into Poverty (March Action)

Poverty is a persistent problem in the U.S. with nearly 50 million Americans currently living below the poverty line. But there are roughly 8 million people in this group who are in a particularly tough situation. These are individuals who are working but they don’t earn enough to escape poverty. Their only crime is that they don’t have children. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) lift more children and families out of poverty than any other programs. But the EITC for workers without children is so low many of these workers are actually taxed into poverty. For example, a childless worker earning around $12,500 per year receives an EITC of $184 yet owes federal taxes in excess of $1,100.

By increasing the EITC for workers without children (from about $500 to $1,000 as a maximum credit) and expanding it to workers between 21 and 25, 500,000 American workers would be lifted out of poverty and another 10.1 million would benefit. This idea has bipartisan support, with both Paul Ryan and President Obama advocating for it.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to write letters to your House and Senate members urging them to stop taxing workers into poverty. Use the March Action for talking points and background information to tell them to expand the EITC for childless workers. Include local data in your letters from the updated EITC state fact sheets from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Once you’ve submitted your letters, assign someone from your group to follow up with your House and Senate tax aides to find out their boss’ position on the issue and if and when they will take action on it.

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Got Twenty Minutes? Join Us in DC this June for the RESULTS International Conference

We are less than 100 days from the 2016 RESULTS International Conference. Have you registered yet? If not, why not? Here are five reasons why you should register for the Conference today:

5. The Registration Rate is a Steal. If you are an active RESULTS volunteer, Conference registration is only $125. That’s right – $125! Considering some conferences charge hundreds and even thousands of dollars just for registration, this is a great deal. But you only have until April 30 to get that rate. After that, it increases by $50.

4. Advocacy Day. One of the highlights of the Conference – and for many, the highlight – is Advocacy Day (June 28). This is when you take your passion, knowledge, and skills from Conference directly to lawmakers and their staff. There is no feeling like watching hundreds of advocates march up Capitol Hill to make their voices heard. It is a powerful experience. Last year, RESULS volunteers had over 300 lobby meetings on Advocacy Day. Add your name to that list this year.

3. REAL Change. The REAL Change Fellowship, which brings 100 young leaders to the Conference, has become an integral part of the Conference in recent years. Seeing these young, energetic advocates use their voices for change – sometimes for the first time – is inspiring. If you or someone you know is 18-30 years old and you want to be a change agent in the world, apply today.

2. Amazing Speakers. RESULTS always strives to provide the best speakers for volunteers at the Conference, and this year is no different. Author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich, former Ambassador Tony Hall, and our fabulous Experts on Poverty are just a few of the speakers confirmed for this year’s conference (with more to be announced soon). Come learn from these experts in June.

1. RESULTS Volunteers. The best part of the Conference is the people you meet. Old friends and new, all joined together by a common goal to make the world a better place. You’ll laugh, cry, and celebrate with some of the most inspiring people you’ll ever meet. Why would you want to miss out on that?

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to register for the 2016 RESULTS International Conference. Go to www.resultsconference.org and plan to be part of something special this summer! (and if you need five more reasons to come, check out our new RESULTS Blog post)

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House Leaders Taking Aim At Safety Programs… Again

The House Ways and Means committee passed a proposal last week that changes the eligibility requirements for the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The proposal requires a Social Security Number (SSN) to receive the tax credit, pushing out immigrant and undocumented working families with children that are currently able to file with their Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). This proposal is touted as an anti-fraud measure; however these families had to apply for an ITIN and underwent strict application and revalidation procedures in 2013. If passed, more than 1.5 million families, including 3 million children, would lose the CTC. Of these children, 4 out of 5 are American citizens who would no longer have access to the same opportunities as other children from low-income families. This proposal disproportionately affects low-income immigrant families and makes tax compliance even more challenging. See this blog post from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for more information.

In addition, the House Republican budget unveiled last week features extreme changes to the administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps) and a drastic reduction in the amount provided to assist Americans living in hunger. The broader House Budget proposal to make aggressive budget cuts affects people of limited means the most; 60 percent of the overall reduction in domestic spending comes straight from low-income programs. Critically important nutrition assistance and public health programs would be reduced by 40 percent in just ten years’ time. It is worth noting that these proposed cuts and changes to SNAP come at a time that over 500,000 unemployed childless adults are set to lose SNAP benefits this year.  

The House Budget package also continues a Republican push to administer SNAP as part of a consolidated federal block grant to states, which would make it less able to respond during a recession when more people are likely to need assistance. To be clear, these proposed changes are not expected to become law this year. However, this package is important because of broader fights ahead about the future of anti-poverty programs. Read more about this issue in our new RESULTS Blog post by U.S. Poverty Intern Nick Wood.

TAKE ACTION: Want to speak up against proposed cuts to SNAP? Tailor RESULTS letter to the editor to tell your own story, and why you think the program matters! And amplify your message about protecting SNAP and other key anti-poverty programs by using the Coalition on Human Needs's House Budget Social Media Toolkit

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Quick News

RESULTS is Busy with Outreach This Spring. The next few months are a busy time for RESULTS staff and volunteers, in particular our wonderful Experts on Poverty. This week, Expert Maxine Thomas of Indianapolis will be doing a press conference with Rep. Andre Carson about poverty in Indiana. On April 9, Expert Ayanna Mathis of Atlanta will be speaking at The Power of Witness: Interfaith Hunger Event. Expert Kimberly Trigg or Salina, KS and RESULTS Grassroots Manager Jos Linn will be presenting at the Circles USA conference in Kansas City, MO, on April 12. Finally, Expert Tamara Bates of Little Rock and RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer Kristy Martino are presenting at the Campus Kitchens Food Waste and Hunger Summit at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville on April 17. These are just a few of the activities we have planned to introduce RESULTS and our advocacy tools to new people around the country. Read about all the events and how you and others can connect to them on the RESULTS Blog.

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Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events. Also, find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

Congressional Recesses: House: March 24 – April 11. Senate: March 21 – April 1. Request face-to-face meetings.

RESULTS Introductory Call, March 25, at 1:00 pm ET. If you want to learn more about RESULTS, register for an upcoming Intro Call on the RESULTS website.

RESULTS Advocacy 101 Training, March 31 at 2:00 pm ET. To join this advocacy training, go to: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/31404402. To join by phone, dial (201) 479-4595, meeting ID 31404402#.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, April 9 at 12:30 pm ET. Join the meeting online at http://fuze.me/32255914; or by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#. Listen to previous webinars on our National Webinars page.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, April 21 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. Join online at http://fuze.me/32256018 or by phone at: (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.

2016 RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Register now at www.resultsconference.org!

If you have a question, comment or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail them to RESULTS Grassroots Board Member Lydia Pendley at [email protected]. You can download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report at: https://results.org/about/annual_report/.

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