U.S. Poverty Weekly Update May 5, 2015
U.S. Poverty Campaigns
Weekly Update | May 5, 2015
In This Week’s Update:
Quick Action: GiveBIG to RESULTS Today!
Please join us this Saturday, May 9 at 12:30 pm ET for the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Meeting. We have some exciting things to talk about this month. We will spend time updating you on latest about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), as well as celebrate your phenomenal media successes this spring. We’ll also spend time talking about our next issue – tax fairness and how to close America’s widening wealth gap. To help us, we are pleased to have Regina “Reggie” Oldak, Senior Counsel for Family Economic Security and Director of Government Relations at the National Women’s Law Center, as our guest speaker this month. Reggie is an experienced advocate and policy expert and will talk to us about fairness (and unfairness) in the tax code and how tax policy to better address poverty in America. Please plan to join us for this important meeting.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Meeting this Saturday, May 9 at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. We use Fuze Meeting for these monthly gatherings; to join the meeting, login at http://fuze.me/28130766. If you cannot join online, you can dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID: 28130766#. Plan to log in or call in no later than 12:25 pm ET. If you have questions about Fuze or how to log in, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
Due to past technical problems with the meeting slides, we urge you to download the slides yourself and scroll through them on your own during the meeting. We will have the slides available later this week on the RESULTS Home Page in the “Take Action” box in the top right-hand corner.
Today is GiveBIG day! This is a one-day, online charitable giving event that gives you more bang for your buck. The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG Campaign is an online charitable giving event for one day only (May 5) designed “to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations who make our region a healthier and more vital place to live.” RESULTS is proud to be a part of this campaign once again. Here's how it works:
For today only – from Midnight PT last night to Midnight PT tonight – every dollar donated to RESULTS Educational Fund will be stretched by the Seattle Foundation. And this year we were selected for a special "challenge" grant: if we can raise $5,000 today, the Seattle Foundation will match it with another $5,000! We are so grateful to our RESULTS advocates who give big every day with their time and talents. Help us celebrate and support our incredible network of ordinary citizens making an extraordinary difference in the world.
Don’t miss out on this special opportunity to leverage your donations to support our work. Go to the RESULTS Educational Fund official GiveBig page and GiveBIG today!
Got Twenty Minutes? Tell Members of Congress to Push for Tax Fairness (May Action)
With the immediate threats to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) now abated, RESULTS is shifting its focus back to our other major campaign for 2015 – creating economic mobility in America. With wages low and the wealth gap higher than ever, income and wealth inequality is taking its toll on the American Dream. The idea that if you work hard enough and play by the rules you’ll make it is under threat. There are many factors to this problem and one large one is the current structure of the U.S. tax code. If you are wealthy, the tax code works very well for you, providing you numerous ways to preserve and even expand your wealth. If you are low-income, things are much different. Policies that could help you create the wealth you need to rise out of poverty are few and far between. As reported in the New York Times in March, in 2014 “those at the tippy-top of the income scale — the top 0.1 percent, with an average annual income of $7.6 million — received an average of $33,391 in federal tax payouts analyzed by the group. Those in the bottom 60 percent, who earn less than $65,000, got less than $1,000 on average, altogether about 12 percent of the billions handed out.” Is this fair?
Tax fairness is likely to become a more prominent issue in the coming months. With a presidential election only 18 months away and a growing desire to reform the tax code in Congress, many voices will be weighing in. Many will call for more of the same or worse, expanding the imbalance. We have to be there to provide a better alternative. An alternative that says tax policy should not simply reward existing wealth; it should foster creating new wealth and hence, new opportunities for all Americans. This month, we are going to get that conversation started.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to take the May Action. Write letters to your House and Senate members urging them to support policies that promote tax fairness for all. They can start by making the 2009 improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) permanent and expand the EITC for workers without children. They can also promote asset building policies to help low-income individuals and families save more and create wealth. The May Action provides you talking points and background information for your letters. We will also discuss the issue of tax fairness on this weekend’s U.S. Poverty National Meeting.
In addition to writing letters, talk with your members of Congress about these issues face-to-face. The House is on recess this week and both chambers will be on recess the week of Memorial Day. Contact your congressional schedulers about face-to-face meetings during this week’s recess or the Memorial Day recess. Use our online request form to request a meeting today. Also ask schedulers if your representatives 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 what to discuss in your meeting. Be sure to bring copies of our SNAP and Tax Credit Lobby Meeting requests to any meetings you attend.
As you know by now, the House passed the final FY 2016 budget resolution 226-197 last week and, unlike the pervious House proposal, SNAP will not be included in budget reconciliation (the Senate is expected to pass the resolution this week). This means that if Congress wants to pass SNAP cuts – which they could unfortunately still pursue later this year – they will have to use the normal budget process to do it (i.e. overcome a likely filibuster in the Senate). While this does not eliminate the threat, it certainly makes it harder to carry out. In fact, without reconciliation, Congress may not have the appetite for a lengthy SNAP battle at all.
You helped make this happen! You made sure communities around the country, and the members of Congress who represent them, knew what was going on. In 2015, you’ve gotten 66 letters to the editor, op-eds, editorials, and other media published about protecting SNAP (see a full list in this RESULTS Blog post). This is the most successful media push in the history of RESULTS’ U.S. Poverty work. You also made calls to Congress, wrote letters, talked to legislative aides, and met face-to-face with 33 representatives and senators urging them to protect SNAP in the budget. It worked. Your efforts are a tribute to the power everyday citizens have to make a difference.
Because of your work, SNAP is safe for the moment. As noted above, our focus now will shift back to tax fairness and creating economic mobility. However, we will keep a close eye on budget negotiations for the rest of the year and if SNAP again becomes a target for cuts, we will be ready. We know you will be too.
For information on all our 2015 U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our Current Campaigns Summary.
We are pleased to announce that respected economist Jared Bernstein will be a speaker at the 2015 RESULTS International Conference. Mr. Bernstein is a Senior Fellow at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and was the Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, and a member of President Obama’s economic team from 2009 to 2011. He is also an author and commentator, who is repeatedly quoted in the press for his views of the economy and Washington fiscal politics. He spoke to RESULTS on our November 2014 U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. We are thrilled Mr. Bernstein can join us in DC; he will participate in a panel discussion about tax fairness and the wealth gap at the conference.
Register before the rates go up. You only have one more month to take advantage of our lower registration rates! The $100 registration rate for active RESULTS volunteers (and $200 rate for non-volunteers) lasts only until June 1. After that, each rate will increase by $100.
Book your hotel room before June 1. You must also book your hotel reservation by June 1. Book your hotel through RESULTS (to keep your costs down) when you register for the conference. Also, if you’d like to find a roommate at the conference to share hotel costs, send a message that you are looking to [email protected].
Join Advocacy 101 webinar to prepare for the conference. RESULTS will offer Advocacy 101 training webinars over the next two months on the basics of how to have a good lobby meeting either at home during congressional recesses or in DC during the RESULTS International Conference. We'll also touch on what to expect during our conference Lobby Day and resources to help you prepare to make the most of this opportunity! Please join us. The first call is next Monday, May 11 at 12:00 pm ET (see other times for this webinar on the RESULTS Events Calendar). Join online at: https://www.fuze.me/28699630 or by phone at (201) 479-4595, passcode 28699630.
Apply for RESULTS Conference scholarship assistance. We know coming to the conference requires a financial investment (which is worth it, by the way). RESULTS has some scholarship money available to help people come to DC. If you want to come to the conference but need financial assistance getting there, fill out our RESULTS U.S. Poverty Activist Scholarship Fund form.
Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events.
Next Congressional Recesses: House: May 2-12 and 23-31; Senate: May 23-31. Request face-to-face meetings.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Meeting, May 9 at 12:30 pm ET. Guest speaker: Regina Oldak, National Women’s Law Center. Login at http://fuze.me/28130766 or by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID: 28130766#. Listen to previous conference calls and meetings on our National Conference Calls page.
Advocacy Training: Advocacy 101 Training and What to Expect at the International Conference, May 11 at 12:00 pm ET. Join online at: https://www.fuze.me/28699630 or by phone at (201) 479-4595, passcode 28699630.
RESULTS Introductory Call, May 13 at 9:00 pm ET. If you are new to RESULTS, learn more about our work by joining our next RESULTS Intro Call. Register for an upcoming call on the RESULTS website.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, May 19 at 8:00pm ET. Join online at: http://fuze.me/27491886; or by phone at (201) 479-4595 and enter Meeting ID: 27491886. For more information, contact Jos Linn ([email protected]).
RESULTS Group Start in Salt Lake City, May 19 at 7:30 pm MT. Contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for more details.
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!
Find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.