U.S. Poverty Weekly Update November 11, 2014

November 11, 2014

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | November 11, 2014

Keep up the great work, RESULTS.

 — Economist Jared Bernstein on the November 8 RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call

New and Urgent in This Week's Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Got Two Minutes? Send an Online LTE to Your Paper about the EITC and CTC (November Action)

Now that the election is over, Congress has a lot of work to get done before the end of the year. New poverty data released in September shows more than 45 million Americans are still living in poverty, including over 14 million children. Are lawmakers taking action to address this problem? No. They seem more concerned about enacting costly tax breaks for businesses. Important improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit (CTC) – which lifted 8.8 million people out of poverty in 2013 – are set to expire if Congress doesn’t act. If Congress wants to do a tax bill after the election, use this opportunity to generate media pushing policymakers to protect and expand the EITC and CTC. 

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send a letter to the editor (LTE) to your local paper calling on Congress to make ending poverty in America a priority during the Lame Duck session. Use our online LTE alert to urge them by name to put low-income working families first by making critical improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent. For more information about the action for this month, see the November 2014 U.S. Poverty Action.

Got Ten Minutes? Use Hooks to Get Your LTEs Published (November Action)

What’s the easiest way to catch a big fish? With a smart hook. This month, RESULTS volunteers are using local media to get anti-poverty legislation passed in the Lame Duck session of Congress. Before a successful letter to the editor can inform readers, it must get the attention of editors at the paper with creative “hooks”, i.e. references or ideas in the letter that make the letter interesting and timely. The easiest hook you can use is by citing a recent article or opinion piece published in the paper. Papers like to see that you are reading their work so if you reference a recent piece, it increases your chance of being published. While you can make a creative connection and hook with any article or opinion piece, some are easier than others. Pieces talking about the election or Congress or the economy are easy to connect to protecting and strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC).

Once you come up with your hooks, share them with other members of your RESULTS group. This will help give other people ideas for their letters and let you coordinate to make your letters unique.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to brainstorm hooks for your letters to the editor. Use recent articles, opinion pieces, or news items as hooks to help get your letters published. See the November Action for talking points you can use to relate your hook to the need for Congress to protect and strengthen the EITC and CTC. If you need help with your letters, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for assistance.

Got Twenty Minutes? Write and Submit Your EITC and CTC Letter to the Editor (November Action)

After you’ve found your hook, take a few minutes to draft a powerful letter to the editor (LTE). Remember that the RESULTS EPIC Laser Talk is the perfect tool for writing LTEs. Here’s how you do it: ENGAGE the listener with a timely and powerful opening statement; state the PROBLEM that needs fixing; INFORM or ILLUSTRATE about the solution; and close with a powerful CALL TO ACTION urging members of Congress by name to take a specific action. Here’s an example of an EITC and CTC letter to the editor using the Laser Talk format:

ENGAGE: In September, the U.S. Census reported that one in five American children lived in poverty last year.

PROBLEM: You would think this would be Congress' top priority as they head back to Washington this week. You would be wrong. Congress is instead focused on passing costly new tax breaks for businesses before year's end.

INFORM: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) lift millions of children out of poverty each year. However, if improvements to the EITC and CTC are allowed to expire, 17 million Americans, including 8 million children, will fall into poverty or deeper into poverty. Congress must use the Lame Duck session to ensure struggling families have what they need to make ends meet.

CALL TO ACTION: The campaign is over – it's time for Congress to represent the working people of America. I urge Congressman Jones and Senators Smith and Brown to make the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements permanent in any tax bill that comes up.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to write and submit your letter to the editor urging Congress to put working families first. Urge them to make the 2009 improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) permanent in any tax bill they propose during the Lame Duck session. The November Action has talking points and resources about the EITC and CTC you can use for your letters. Here are some additional resources to help you:

If you have questions or need help with drafting your letters, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Reconnect with Editorial Writers about Writing an EITC/CTC Editorial

Now that the election is over, this is also a great time to circle back with editorial editors and writers about writing editorials on poverty and the EITC/CTC. Use this lull in news coverage and the “hook” of Congress’s unfinished business to push for an editorial again this month. The November Action has post-election talking points and the September Action has tips for generating editorials. Be sure to also forward them the RESULTS EITC/CTC Editorial Memo, which contains updated poverty data. If you have questions or need coaching for doing editorial outreach, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Conference Call Guest Speaker Jared Bernstein Offers Insight on What’s Next in Congress

RESULTS is extremely grateful that economist Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) took time out of his busy schedule to be on the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call this past weekend. Mr. Bernstein offered his economic expertise and political experience to give us a preview of what to expect from Congress in the coming months. Here are some of the highlights.

Lame Duck Session. For the Lame Duck session that begins tomorrow and runs through December, Mr. Bernstein said the two items on the agenda are finishing the FY 2015 spending bills and passing legislation on expiring business tax credits (i.e. “tax extenders”). On the former, he said some Republicans in Congress are wanting to extend the current continuing resolution (CR), which expires December 11, past the holidays so the new Congress can finish the budget. He said this could be dangerous as the new Congress would likely push for more cuts than the current Congress would pass. On the tax extenders, Mr. Bernstein reminded us that many in Congress are pushing for permanent extensions of these business tax credits, which would not be paid for and thus adds hundreds of billions to the deficit. Despite this, he said the debate over the tax extenders could provide an opening for anti-poverty advocates to get a permanent extension of the EITC and CTC improvements.

New Congress. As for the outlook for the new Congress, Mr. Bernstein noted that it will be riddled with threats and opportunities. With regard to threats, he said to be ready for another push to turn SNAP into a block grant, which would force drastic cuts to the program and severely limit its effectiveness. He said Congress could also seek to cut Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance, as well as enact major tax reform that codifies more of the “trickle-down” economic policies that have contributed to rising inequality. He also noted that there will likely be a renewed push to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which he says is a “surefire” way to starve anti-poverty programs.

But the news was not all bad. Mr. Bernstein said that these threats can also become opportunities. Congress may move on an infrastructure bill, minimum wage, immigration, or tax reform, which give advocates the chance to push for meaningful reform. He also made crystal clear that the work of RESULTS and other advocates is more important now than ever. One thing he specifically urged us to do was not to accept the media narrative that the economic recovery is all well and good. He reminded us that millions of people living in poverty or near poverty are still feeling the effects of the recession. He told us it’s important that we push back at that meme and keep talking about the people who are still struggling.

RESULTS deeply thanks Jared Bernstein for being on our call this month and for his and CBPP’s partnership in this work. We look forward to more collaborations with them in the future. You can listen to RESULTS November 2014 U.S. Poverty National Conference Call and download the slides and summary of the call at our National Conference Calls page.

Quick News

Important Child Care Vote This Week. Senators return to work this week and one of the first items on their agenda is the reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). CCDBG provides federal money to states to help low-income parents access child care services. The legislation would reauthorize CCDBG for the first time since 1996. Authorization bills do not allocate funding but set out program policy and give guidance to appropriators on annual funding levels. CCDBG contains both funding that is mandatory (locked in each year) and discretionary (appropriated each year). The current legislation increases the amount of discretionary spending appropriators can give to CCDBG and creates new rules designed to increase the quality of services, require a minimum training threshold for staff, and provide for inspections of child care centers. The House has passed the bill and is awaiting action from the Senate. Do your part by urging Congress to make new investments in preschool and child care services for low-income families using our online e-mail alert.

Fundraising Update

Many thanks to our Santa Fe group for hosing an event on November 9. They had nearly 100 people in attendance and more than doubled their funds raised at their event last year! Way to go Santa Fe! 

This week RESULTS Board member, Kul Gautam, will begin a short U.S. speaking tour to support some of our groups’ local fundraising events. You can find their detailed event information here:

Right now is also the perfect time to kick off your own Virtual Thanksgiving Feast online campaign! Development has easy to use resources to help you manage a successful campaign in just seven days! It's easy to sign up and even easier to give back to RESULTS through this already established online source. Why not invite your friends and family to virtually join you in giving thanks while giving back? Just register your page here

If you can't register for your own page, consider supporting one of the groups already registered for the Feast in Asheville, NC, Washington DC, or Dallas, TX

For questions about your Virtual Thanksgiving set up or management, contact Jen DeFranco at [email protected]


Join RESULTS Intro Call Tomorrow Night. If you or someone you know is new to RESULTS, learn more about RESULTS and how you can get involved on one of RESULTS Introductory Calls. These 30-45 minute calls provide you an overview of our work and the ways you can participate. The next call is this Wednesday, November 12 at 9:00pm ET. To participate, register for the call on the RESULTS website.

Contact Grassroots Board Members with Your Questions. If you have questions or suggestions for the RESULTS Board, please contact Grassroots Board Member Lydia Pendley at [email protected].

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: 113th Congress will adjourn sometime in December. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, November 12: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register at: https://results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/#Introductory%20Call.

Tuesday, November 18: U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET. (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096.

Thursday, November 27 – Friday, November 28: All RESULTS offices closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Saturday, December 13: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Saturday, July 18 – Tuesday, July 21, 2015: RESULTS International Conference, Washington Court Hotel, Washington, DC. Details coming soon!

RESULTS Contact Information

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:

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.

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