U.S. Poverty Weekly Update November 18, 2014
U.S. Poverty Campaigns
Weekly Update | November 18, 2014
"I love coming to these RESULTS meetings. I learn something every time and, well, it just makes me feel smarter and more informed."
— RESULTS Albuquerque volunteer William Bendaw after the November 8 RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call
New and Urgent in This Week's Update
Latest from Washington, DC
Congress is back in DC working on various issues they’ve put off all year. One likely bill to be addressed will be an extension of tax credits for corporations. Is this really the most important and effective thing Congress can do? After election exit polls showed that the biggest issue on voters’ minds is the economy, wouldn’t it be better to do something that will actually help working Americans make ends meet? Yes, it would.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send a letter to the editor (LTE) to your local paper telling Congress to spend what little time they have left this session making life a little easier for hard-working Americans. Urge them to use any tax bill that comes up in the Lame Duck session to make the 2009 improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit (CTC) permanent. Use our online LTE alert to urge them by name to put low-income working families first. To increase your chance of getting published, copy and paste the online LTE into an e-mail and send it to your local paper or paste it into their online LTE form (if they have one). You can find websites for your local papers in our Media Guide. For help in writing your LTEs, see the November 2014 U.S. Poverty Action
Got Ten Minutes? Submit a More Personal LTE Urging Congress to Protect Families Getting the EITC and CTC
Our “Got Two Minutes” section above is for those who are on the go and literally have only two minutes to take action. Using our online letter to the editor (LTE) action is effective, but even more effective is a personal LTE you write yourself. The more personal and local you make your letter, the more likely it will get published. Here are a few suggestions to help you make your EITC and CTC letters more personal and local:
When you make your letter personal and/or relate it to a local issue (e.g. RESULTS Des Moines is using new efforts to raise the state’s gas tax as a hook to discuss the EITC and CTC), you get the attention of newspaper editors. Make it easy for them to publish your letter by making your LTE personal and local to them. Also, increase the chance of your letter getting published by having everyone in your local RESULTS group submit their own letter.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to write and submit your personal letter to the editor urging Congress to make the 2009 improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) permanent NOW. The November Action has talking points and resources about the EITC and CTC you can use for your letters. To help you make your letters local, use state and congressional district poverty data from TalkPoverty.org and state EITC and CTC statistics from CBPP. If you need guidance on writing a letter to the editor, see our RESULTS Activist Toolkit. Finally, if you have questions or need help with drafting/editing your letters, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
After you’ve submitted your letter to the editor this month, supplement your message to Congress by reconnecting with tax aides for your representatives and senators about the EITC and CTC. Call and talk to them about congressional plans for tax legislation in the Lame Duck session and new Congress. Ask if there are any plans to include a permanent extension of the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements in that legislation or in tax reform in 2015. Make your case that making these improvements permanent should be done now, not later, and push for a permanent extension in any upcoming tax legislation.
To help you make an even stronger case for the EITC, there is new data showing that the EITC is a crucial support for rural Americans. The Center for Rural Affairs has a new report showing that in 2012, more than one in five rural residents in the U.S. claimed the EITC, which is higher than those living in urban areas (percentage-wise). Considering that rural incomes are lower and rural poverty is higher than urban areas, the importance of the EITC to rural communities cannot be understated. Sharing this information, especially with members of Congress who represent rural districts and states, can only help push lawmakers to make protecting and strengthening the EITC and CTC a priority.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to contact tax aides in your representatives and senators offices about the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Check in to see what they know about upcoming tax legislation and urge them to push their bosses to include a permanent extension of the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements in any new tax legislation. Also, if they have yet to co-sponsor H.R. 769 (House CTC bill), H.R. 2116 (House EITC bill), or S. 836 (Senate EITC/CTC bill), urge them to do so. Use the November Action for talking points for your calls. You can find aide names and contact information on our Elected Officials page. If you have questions or need coaching for your calls, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]).
Who says Congress can’t get anything done? In a rare move of bipartisanship, yesterday the Senate approved a 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 Senate passed the bill 88-1 (the House had passed the bill earlier this year). This is the first reauthorization of CCDBG in nearly 20 years (since 1996). The bill would improve the health and safety of children in child care settings, make it easier for women and families to get and keep the child care assistance they need, enable children to have more stable child care, and strengthen the quality of child care. The bill now goes to the President for his signature. This is great victory for early childhood and anti-poverty advocates.
But it’s not over yet. The CCDBG authorization bill does not allocate funding for the program; it merely sets out program policy and gives guidance to appropriators on annual funding levels. To ensure successful implementation of the new law, Congress needs to allocate the funding necessary to make that happen.
TAKE ACTION: Use our online e-mail alert to tell your members of Congress to protect America’s children and working families by investing in strong early childhood programs. Urge them to fund early childhood programs at the following levels in the FY 2015 budget:
In addition to writing your letters to the editor this month, remember that this is also a good time to reconnect with editorial editors and writers about writing editorials on poverty and the EITC/CTC. Have the media point person in your group contact your local contact at the paper and make your pitch to have an editorial written. The November Action has post-election talking points and the September Action has tips for generating editorials. In addition, see our Laser Talk on pitch an editorial to see how one of these conversations might go. Finally, please forward the RESULTS EITC/CTC Editorial Memo to the writer, which has been updated with new poverty data. If you have questions or need coaching for doing editorial outreach, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
CHIP on the Old Block. Lost in all the election coverage is the fact that the current funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will expire on September 30, 2015. For years, CHIP has provided a much needed bridge of coverage for families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for private health coverage. Because states are now beginning to work on the FY 2016 budgets, they need to know if CHIP will be in effect after that date. Advocates are pushing Congress to pass a four-year CHIP funding extension in the Lame Duck session. If Congress fails to act now, 10.2 million children estimated to be enrolled in CHIP in FY 2015 will be at risk of losing coverage. Use our online e-mail alert to tell Congress to protect children and families by funding CHIP!
Child Homelessness on the Rise. A new report from the National Center on Family Homelessness says the number of American children who are homeless is at an all-time high. In 2013, 2.5 million children were homeless at some point. If there was ever a reason to do more about poverty in the U.S., having 1 in every 30 children in the U.S. be homeless is it. The report says “remedies for child homelessness should include an expansion of affordable housing, education and employment opportunities for homeless parents, and specialized services for the many mothers rendered homeless due to domestic violence.”
Many thanks to our Detroit groups for hosting a great fundraiser on November 16. Kul Gautam spoke to their audience of 50, and the event was a great success. Kul will continue on his U.S. tour to speak in Houston, TX on Friday, November 21 and Austin, TX on Saturday, November 22. If you know people in these areas, please invite them to attend.
Gobble! Gobble! There is still time to successfully have a Virtual Thanksgiving Feast for RESULTS. Simply sign up here. Invite your friends and family to join you at your virtual table., then express your thanks for their giving and support. Three easy steps to help support much needed funding for the RESULTS Educational Fund before the year ends.
Join Free Agents Calls Today! Are you a RESULTS volunteer without a RESULTS group? Want to make a difference but don’t know how? Have no fear! Our monthly U.S. Poverty Free Agents group could be the answer for you. Each month, RESULTS volunteers who don’t have a U.S. poverty group near them meet by conference call to celebrate your successes, provide you updates on our issues, and support you in taking meaningful, effective action. We welcome you to join us. We typically meet the third Tuesday of the month. Our next calls are today, November 18 at 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET (join whichever call is convenient). To join the conversation, dial (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096. If you have questions about the Free Agents group, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
Join RESULTS Intro Call on Friday. 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 Friday, November 21 at 1:00pm 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].
(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.
Tuesday, November 18: U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET. (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096.
Friday, November 21: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register at: https://results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/#Introductory%20Call.
Thursday, November 27 – Friday, November 28: All RESULTS offices closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Saturday, July 18 – Tuesday, July 21, 2015: RESULTS International Conference, Washington Court Hotel, Washington, DC. Details coming soon!
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.