U.S. Poverty Weekly Update March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | March 24, 2015

“When it comes to reducing hunger and poverty, our investments in SNAP are working. Congress should stop trying to screw it up.”

REAL Change Fellow and RESULTS Little Rock volunteer Tamara Bates in a March 23 letter to the editor in Arkansas Business

 “We live in America and we are forced to starve!”

REAL Change Fellow and RESULTS Indianapolis volunteer Sharvonne Williams in a March 23 letter to the editor in the Indianapolis Star

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Use the Media to Help Protect SNAP

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Call Schedulers to Confirm Meetings and Town Halls during Next Week’s Recess

Next week, Congress begins its two-week spring recess. With SNAP facing deep cuts in the House budget proposal and both the House and Senate making drastic changes to the social safety net, it is important that members of Congress hear from you that you don’t “strengthen” the social safety net with a chainsaw and lighter fluid. Use your voice to tell Congress that we need to protect programs and services that support low-income Americans – call about scheduling face-to-face meetings and attending town halls today!

TAKE ACTION: To two minutes to contact your House and Senate schedulers about face-to-face meetings during the spring recess (March 28 – April 12). If you have already submitted a request, call to check on the status of it. If you have not submitted a request yet, please do so now using our online request form. Also ask if your members of Congress are doing any town halls or public events that you can attend during the recess. Once you get a meeting or town hall confirmed, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching on specific requests for your meeting. Be sure to use poverty data for your congressional district in your meetings (http://talkpoverty.org/poverty/) and bring copies of our SNAP and Tax Credit Lobby Meeting requests.

Got Ten Minutes? Submit an Online Letter to the Editor about Protecting SNAP

Last week, the House and Senate Budget Committees put forward their budget proposals. Unfortunately, the House proposal includes deep cuts and dramatic changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). SNAP is the nation’s primary defense against hunger and, at a time when over one in five American children is at risk of going to bed hungry, a critical lifeline for millions. House Budget Committee staff estimated the cuts to SNAP total approximately $125 billion over the next ten years, which means 11-12 million Americans could lose access to SNAP benefits. The House budget would also convert SNAP (as well as Medicaid) into "state flexibility funds," better-known as block grants. While the proposal provides no specific details, this too would be disastrous for millions of children and families, forcing more cuts to the program and undermining its effectiveness in economic downturns. If that were not bad enough, the House budget also paves the way to “fast track” deep cuts and changes to SNAP by including SNAP and other programs in the budget reconciliation process.

This week the full House and Senate will consider their budget proposals, and then they will work to reach a final agreement by April 15. This means we have a short window to stop Congress from putting cuts and changes to SNAP on the “fast track”, and your voice is needed!

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to quickly tailor our SNAP LTE alert to send a letter to the editor right now. Look for articles in your local paper about the new budget proposals in Congress and write your letter in response urging them to protect SNAP. Be sure to mention your members of Congress by name in your letter, urging them to stand up for low-income Americans and oppose any budget that would cut services or restructure SNAP.

Got Twenty Minutes? Write Your Own LTE or Op-Ed about Protecting SNAP

As noted above and on the RESULTS Blog, the House and Senate are expected to pass their respective FY2016 budget resolutions sometime this week, before leaving for the two-week spring recess. The House plan in particular outlines some drastic cuts and changes to SNAP, which could force more than 11 million people off the program. Members of Congress need to know that their constituents do not support these attacks on SNAP and other anti-poverty programs. You can publicly let them know you opposition to their plans by submitting and letter to the editor or op-ed to your local paper. Educate your community and tell your legislators that SNAP works, keeps millions of people out of poverty, and deserves our wholehearted support.

TAKE ACTION: To twenty minutes to draft your own personal letter to the editor or op-ed about protecting SNAP in the 2016 federal budget. Look for articles in your local paper this week about the new budget proposals in Congress and write your letter or op-ed urging them to protect SNAP. You can use the talking points in the March Action and information in our new RESULTS Blog Post to help with your media pieces. Be sure to mention your members of Congress by name, urging them to stand up for low-income Americans and oppose any budget that would cut services or restructure SNAP. You can also find local poverty data at www.talkpoverty.org/poverty and state facts sheets about SNAP from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) to use in your pieces. CBPP also has more details about the House and Senate proposals and their impact on SNAP.

If you need help drafting or editing your LTE or op-ed, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for assistance. Also, RESULTS did a Media Training last week on getting letters and op-eds published; you can listen to a recording of the training on the RESULTS website.

Outreach Update and Events Calendar

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer concluded her travel swing southward last week, holding events in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina. She found some good leads for new RESULTS volunteers and groups in Birmingham, AL and Raleigh/Durham, NC, and officially started a new group in Atlanta, GA. Kristy will continue to work with these new volunteers to strengthen RESULTS’ presence below the Mason-Dixon Line and beyond. Read more about Kristy’s trip on the RESULTS Blog. Also, please check out these upcoming RESULTS events:

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: March 28-April 12. Request face-to-face meetings.

RESULTS Introductory Call, March 27 at 1:00 pm ET. If you are new to RESULTS, learn more about our work by joining our next RESULTS Intro Call. The next call is Friday, March 27 at 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another call on the RESULTS website.

Group Start in Colorado Springs, April 9 at 6:00 pm MT. Join and invite others to attend this community outreach event to start a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty group in Colorado Springs, CO. The event is 6:00 – 8:00 pm MT at Old Colorado City Library, Meeting Room, 2418 West Pikes Peak Ave, Colorado Springs, CO. Contact Kristy Martino at [email protected] for details.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Meeting, April 11 at 12:30 pm ET. To join the meeting, login at http://fuze.me/28130766. If joining by phone, dial (201) 479-4595 and enter meeting ID: 28130766 when prompted.

Attend the RESULTS International Conference, July 18-21. Join us for the RESULTS International Conference at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. This is the biggest event of the year for RESULTS. Register TODAY!

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of upcoming events.

Find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

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