U.S. Poverty Weekly Update May 13, 2014
Inequality is the root of social evil.
— Pope Francis
New and Urgent in This Week's Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
- Got Two Minutes? Use the RESULTS Online Action to Send a Quick Letter to the Editor on the EITC and CTC (May Action)
- Got Ten Minutes? Write a Personal Letter to the Editor about Tax Credits for Working Families (May Action)
- Got Twenty Minutes? Spring into Action! Register for the RESULTS Conference for $199 (before May 17) and Invite Others to Join You
Latest from Washington, DC
- Follow Up with Tavis Smiley Invitees by Inviting Someone to Tomorrow’s RESULTS Intro Call
- Put in Face-to-Face Requests for May Recesses
- Quick News
Got Two Minutes? Use the RESULTS Online Action to Send a Quick Letter to the Editor on the EITC and CTC (May Action)
In May, RESULTS is working to generate media about tax fairness for working families. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a corporate tax bill 274-131 that would make large tax breaks for corporations permanent at a cost of $301 billion over the next ten years. This cost not offset, which means it will be added to the federal budget deficit. Yet, the House chose to ignore critical improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) that are set to expire in 2017. If these improvements expire, 12 million Americans, including 7 million children, will fall into poverty or deeper into poverty.
When many members of Congress use deficit concerns to oppose even small increases in funding for anti-poverty programs, it is unfathomable that they would now rubber stamp hundreds of billions in tax cuts for some of the wealthiest corporations in the world and ignore the needs of millions of working Americans.
TAKE ACTION: Send a letter to the editor to your local paper pointing out the hypocrisy of giving corporations big tax breaks while ignoring the needs of working Americans. Use the RESULTS letter to the editor action to send your letter today. For more information, see the May Action on the RESULTS website.
Got Ten Minutes? Write a Personal Letter to the Editor about Tax Credits for Working Families (May Action)
If you have more than two minutes this week, we urge you to write an individual or personalized letter to the editor about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). As discussed on Saturday’s U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, the House is advancing legislation that would give a $300 billion tax break to corporations while refusing to help 12 million workers and their children who are helped by improvements to the EITC and CTC. Personal stories make for powerful letters to the editor. Perhaps you or your family has received the EITC and CTC, maybe someone you know has benefitted from these important tax credits, or perhaps you could just mention that as a taxpayer you find it appalling that Congress would prioritize tax cuts for huge corporations (some of whom pay little or no federal income tax) over working families.
These misguided priorities were highlighted eloquently on Saturday’s call by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13). Rep. Lee thanked RESULTS volunteers for all the great work you do and urged you to keep it up. She pointed out that as a member of the Budget Committee (chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-1)) she has worked expose lawmakers to the realities of poverty in America. She even tried to get Witnesses to Hunger to testify before the Committee, but was refused. To keep the spotlight on poverty, she and others inserted language in the January 2014 “omnibus” funding bill that says:
Poverty is far too prevalent in the United States. Congress and the Administration should work together to implement policies, inter-agency efforts, and support proven anti-poverty programs that reduce the existence of poverty and the suffering associated with it.
Congresswoman Lee urged us to hold members of Congress accountable to that standard. Your media this month is one way you can do that.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to draft a powerful letter to the editor pointing out that Congress needs to protect working families before wealthy corporations. Urge members of Congress by name to oppose the “tax extenders” bill and instead work to make the EITC and CTC improvements permanent and commit to ending poverty in America by 2030. Use the May Action for talking points and background information for your letters. If you have questions or need with your letters, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
RESULTS greatly appreciates Rep. Barbara Lee speaking on this month’s call. RESULTS applauds Rep. Lee for her tireless work helping vulnerable populations and strongly support her in her work as Chair of the Out of Poverty Caucus and on the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. If you did not hear the call, you can listen to the recording, as well as download the slides and summary of the call, on our National Conference Calls page.
Got Twenty Minutes? Spring into Action! Register for the RESULTS Conference for $199 (before May 17) and Invite Others to Join You
Want to have a life-changing experience? Want to help create a world free of poverty? Want to meet people from around the world and have a great time in our nation’s capital? Then register for the RESULTS International Conference today! This week only, RESULTS is discounting the conference registration fee to $199. Don’t miss out on this wonderful experience. Here are just a few of the amazing guest speakers we have coming this year:
- Author, activist, and talk show host Tavis Smiley
- Founder of the Children's Defense Fund Marian Wright Edelman
- President of the World Bank Dr. Jim Kim
- USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah
- Actor and activist Sean Astin
- LaNae Havens of Circles USA
- Shearine McGee of Witnesses to Hunger
- New York Times columnist David Bornstein
- Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson
In addition, see our updated conference agenda to see all the great sessions we’ll have at the conference. Whether you want advocacy training, policy briefings, lobby preparation, how to push election candidates on the issues, or how to do local outreach (just to name a few), we have it all.
In addition, on Saturday’s national conference call, volunteers on the call committed to reaching out to 94 new people this week inviting them to attend this year’s conference. There is undoubtedly someone out there you know who would enjoy participating in this year’s conference. Why not ask them to come? With the Spring into Action discount, this is a great week to do so. Maybe someone you know is looking for something like this but can’t find it. You can be the difference. It’s as simple as contacting them and saying:
My involvement with RESULTS has been a total gift to me—I’ve tapped into power I never knew I had — and instead of complaining about problems I’m actually doing something about them. I know that what I’m doing is really saving and improving lives and it has provided real meaning. I want to offer you the same gift that someone gave me, and one of the best ways to fully experience what RESULTS has to offer is to come to the International Conference in Washington this summer — it is a crash course on issues, advocacy, and personal power. Can I give you some more details?
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to register for the RESULTS International Conference today! Take advantage of the Spring into Action discount where you can register for only $199 – but only until May 17. Also reach out to new people urging them to come to the conference as well. That includes the people you identified on last weekend’s national conference call. Let’s make this the biggest and best RESULTS Conference ever!
Do You Need Financial Assistance to Come to the Conference? We know that the cost needed to travel to DC can be a barrier for some. We want to do what we can to help. RESULTS has limited scholarship funds available for current RESULTS volunteers to attend this year’s conference. Contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) by May 15 for more information.
Please Schedule Your Lobby Prep Call. For those attending the conference, please contact RESULTS Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to set up a conference call to prepare you for Lobby Day as soon as possible. Meredith will provide you specific coaching for your individual members of Congress including which issues to focus on and which aides to contact. If possible, please have everyone in your group attending the conference participate in the prep call. We will do these calls before you set up your lobby meetings so you can provide details about your meetings when you contact the schedulers. Please contact Meredith at [email protected] today.
Please Reserve Your Hotel Room NOW. Also, please reserve your conference hotel room at the DoubleTree Crystal City this week. We have a block of rooms available at a discounted room rate through this Saturday, May 17. After that, we cannot guarantee the discounted rate nor can we guarantee you’ll have a room. There is no cost to reserve your room now; you will not be charged until you get to DC. Go to our International Conference page for information on how to reserve your room today.
Thank you again to everyone who attended the April 29 RESULTS Tavis Smiley Virtual Town Hall event. We hope that each of you are following up with people you invited to participate in the call. This is a great opportunity to grow your local groups and expand RESULTS reach and impact across the country.
TAKE ACTION: Take time this week to follow up with people you invited to the April 29 Tavis Smiley National Town Hall. Whether they live in your community or across the country, reach out to them and invite them to learn more about RESULTS. If you’re not sure how to best follow up, here are easy steps that can make it successful:
- Send them an e-mail thanking them and send them a link to the call recording: https://www.results.org/newsroom/tavis_smiley_and_results_host_virtual_town_hall_meeting_ending_poverty/.
- Ask to set up a time to meet with them in person or over the phone. A personal one-on-one conversation is the best way to follow up.
- Invite them to join a RESULTS Intro Call. RESULTS Intro Calls are a great way to introduce new people to RESULTS. We do the calls twice each month; the next call is tomorrow, May 14 at 9:00 pm ET. To register for an upcoming call, send them this link: http://www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.
- Meet with them and talk about your experience with RESULTS. Your work with RESULTS is a powerful motivator. When talking to someone new to RESULTS, share your experience and the feelings you get from being an engaged citizen. Also ask them about their interests and aspirations and tell them how RESULTS can help them become a powerful voice for change. Your example is the best advertisement for RESULTS.
If you have questions or need coaching to do your follow-up, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
The House is on recess this week and the Senate will be out the week of Memorial Day. This is again an important opportunity for your to meet with your members of Congress while their home. Contact your House and Senate schedulers now to see if you can get a meeting while they are home. Also ask if they are holding a public events or town halls you could attend. Remember that their schedules change frequently so something that is not on the calendar today may be on the calendar tomorrow, so be sure to check more than once during the week.
At these meetings and town halls, here are some examples of issues you can discuss:
- Ask your House member if he/she has co-sponsored the Financial Security Credit Act of 2013 and talked to Reps. Dave Camp (R-MI-4) and Sander Levin (D-MI-9) of the House Ways and Means Committee about including the Financial Security Credit in tax reform
- Ask your senator if he/she has talked to Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) of the Senate Finance Committee about including the Financial Security Credit in tax reform
- Ask House members about their vote on the tax extenders bill giving big tax breaks to corporations while ignoring expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC
- Urge senators to oppose the House tax extenders bill
- Ask representatives and senators to read the new report Beyond Broke: Why Closing the Racial Wealth Gap is a Priority for National Economic Security and take action to address the racial wealth gap in America (e.g. African-Americans households have only 6-7 cents in assets for every dollar in assets white households have)
To help you best prepare for meetings and town halls, please contact RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) when you get a meeting scheduled. She can give you personalized coaching for your individual members of Congress. Also, be sure to take a copy of our Economic Mobility and Early Childhood lobby request sheets to give to your members of Congress and staff.
TAKE ACTION: Please submit your requests now for face-to-face meetings. Contact schedulers today (names can be found on our Elected Officials page) so you can get on their schedule as soon as possible. Use our downloadable meeting request letter or our online version to make your requests. Be sure to put in requests for all the representatives your group covers and both senators in your state. Also, please ask the scheduler about any public events or town halls your members of Congress may be holding during the recess and plan to attend to ask a question. Use our Sample Town Hall Questions for your meetings and public events and see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary for an overview of our 2014 issues.
Congress Again Meddling with Food Choices. Last week, we highlighted efforts by some in Congress to politicize the nutrition guidelines for WIC by mandating certain foods not recommended by the National Academy of Sciences be included in WIC’s menu package. Now, it seems that Congress wants to change the menu for school lunches. This July, new guidelines for school lunch menus will go into effect aimed at improving the nutritional value of the lunches. House Appropriators are looking to block these changes from going into effect, once again undermining the science of nutrition for political expediency. For a program that has traditionally enjoyed wide bipartisan support, the House move could inject more partisanship into programs like school lunches and result in more policy driven by politics than science. Contact agriculture/nutrition aides in the House and Senate and urge them to tell their bosses to oppose any efforts to undermine the WIC and new school lunch nutrition standards.
Check Out Sean Astin Pushing RESULTS. Actor and activist Sean Astin (Rudy, Lord of the Rings) appeared on Huffington Post Live last week and talked about RESULTS. You can hear what he said starting at the 12:45 mark (also see RESULTS’ Cindy Changyit Levin prompt the conversation). Sean Astin will be at this year’s RESULTS International Conference. You can also see Sean interview Ken Patterson, Vanessa Garcia, and Mark Campbell of RESULTS on the May 1 episode of his show Vox Populi.
For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page on the RESULTS website.
Everyone is invited to be part of our Second Annual Everyday Hero Virtual Dash. We call RESULTS volunteers "Everyday Heroes" because you work tirelessly to build support in Congress, the media, and your communities to end poverty and save lives. This is a virtual event to raise money to support you and invite others to be heroes with us. It's a fun run or walk that you literally can do anywhere: your neighborhood, a track, or even a treadmill. If you're coming to the International Conference in Washington, DC, join us on June 21 at 7:00 pm to do a Hero Dash for a 1 mile or 5K run/walk (some of us in superhero costume). To participate, simply:
- Register on our website www.tinyurl.com/2014EDH for just $25
- Choose a date between June 1-30, 2014 to do your “dash”
- On that date, walk, run, or even bike a distance meaningful to you: 1 mile, a 5K, 10 miles
Once you’ve done your dash, we’ll mail you your very own 2nd Annual Everyday Heroes Medal (you can see what it looks like at: www.tinyurl.com/2014EDH). This year’s is blue, so it’s different from last year’s if you’re building a collection!
You can build out the event even more by gathering a group of friends to walk/run together and make it a fundraising event and/or setting up your own personal fundraising page and asking friends & family to donate online in support of your challenge.
Nominate Grassroots Volunteer for RESULTS Board. The RESULTS Board will have two grassroots member vacancies this fall. Grassroots Board Members play a vital role in the RESULTS family, representing our volunteer network on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Board of RESULTS and REF. We are seeking nominations of RESULTS activists who would be strong candidates for this role. Nominations of candidates for the two open Grassroots Board Member positions must reach the RESULTS office by Sunday, June 15. Candidates can be nominated by others or can nominate themselves. Given the timing of the election process this year, those who are nominated will have opportunities to introduce themselves to the grassroots at the International Conference. Please e-mail your nomination to [email protected] or call 202-783-4800 x152.
Give Feedback to Grassroots Board Members. The four RESULTS Grassroots Board Members (Heide Craig, Lydia Pendley, Ginnie Vogts, and Beth Wilson) would like to hear from you if you have questions or ideas about RESULTS and our work. Send your questions or suggestions to Heide at: [email protected].
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: May 12-16, 23-27; Senate: May 26-30. Request face-to-face meetings.
Tuesday, May 20: RESULTS Media Support Call, 8:00 pm ET. (712) 775-7399, passcode 954747#.
Tuesday, May 20: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.
Saturday, June 14: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Saturday, June 21 – Tuesday, June 24: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. REGISTER TODAY!
Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. 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:
- Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (202) 783-7100, x.116, [email protected].
- Jos Linn, Grassroots Manager, U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
- Myrdin Thompson, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, (502) 295-1315, [email protected]
- Kristy Martino, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, (603) 531-7486, [email protected]
- Ann Beltran, U.S. Poverty Volunteer Lobbyist, [email protected]
- 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.