U.S. Poverty Weekly Update September 12, 2017
U.S. Poverty Campaigns
Weekly Update | September 12, 2017
“The way out of poverty is to speak up to our elected representatives about these solutions that work. RESULTS offers advocacy training and a chance for individuals to make a difference.”
– RESULTS Snohomish (WA) volunteer and Willie Dickerson in a September 7 letter to the editor in the Eugene Weekly
Quick Action: Tell Congress to Prioritize Working Families in Tax Legislation
Got Two Minutes? Get Ready for TONIGHT’s U.S. Poverty National Webinar with Heather Booth
Join us tonight at 8:00 pm ET for the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar. This will be one you don’t want to miss. We’ll highlight what the new U.S. Census poverty data says and talk about how you can use it to generate media and train others in your community to take action. We are also thrilled to have legendary civil rights activist and community organizer Heather Booth as our guest speaker. She will share her thoughts on how we can ensure that any tax bill Congress takes up this year is fair for all. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from an icon in the organizing community.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Grassroots Webinar tonight, September 12 at 8:00 pm ET. Remind members if your group is meeting for the call or if group members (and Free Agents) are calling in on their own. To join online, login at http://fuze.me/32255914 or dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#. Plan to log in or call in no later than 7:55 pm ET. The webinar slides will be available on our National Webinars page before the webinar.
Got Ten Minutes? Submit a Letter to the Editor Highlighting New Census Poverty Data (September Action)
The new U.S. Census Poverty data is now out and the news is good. The data shows that between 2015 and 2016, the official U.S. poverty rate dropped by nearly one percent from 13.5 percent to 12.7 percent. This means that 2.5 million fewer Americans were in poverty in 2016. The data also shows that the health care uninsured rate dropped to 8.8 percent from 9.1 percent in 2015 (about 900,000 few uninsured persons). The data also shows that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) lifted 8.6 million Americans out of poverty and SNAP lifted 3.6 million out.
Use stories about the poverty data in your local papers as a hook to get a letter to the editor published about protecting anti-poverty programs from cuts. Your members of Congress are reading your local paper every day, trying to understand what their constituents care about. They need to know you won’t stand by when anti-poverty programs come under attack. Even one published letter can make a big difference.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to draft and submit a letter to the editor to your local paper using the new Census data as a hook (and remember, your paper not covering the data release is also a hook). Use the sample letter below as a starting point to personalize your own letter and send it in.
To the editor:
New census data shows that 1 in 8 Americans are living at or below the poverty line. So why are some members of Congress taking aim at the very programs that help working families put food on the table and get the basics to survive?
Programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps) and the Earned Income Tax Credit lifted millions of people, half of them children, out of poverty last year. Gutting these programs to pay for a tax break for millionaires is unconscionable. I hope I can count on our representatives [INSERT YOURS] to stand with families and kids here in [YOUR STATE].
Got Twenty Minutes? Use the Poverty Data Release to Empower Your Community (September Action)
The good news from the Census today is not just a powerful hook for media, it is also a powerful hook for engagement. The poverty rate continues to decrease yet why is Congress taking aim at key programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, and the Earned Income Tax Credit – programs that a key in helping lift and keep people out of poverty? Sadly, most Americans don’t see this. The Census data is just another story in the paper to gloss over. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In addition to generating media about the poverty data, use this information this month to engage others to take action. Organize an advocacy presentation in your community where you overview the data, show how anti-poverty programs are making a difference, and invite them to take action to preserve the progress we’ve made. These presentations can be big or small, in a crowded meeting space or your own living room. The goal is to let people know that they do have a voice and can learn the skills (from you) on how to best use it.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to strategize how you can empower others in your community to take action on U.S. poverty issues. Talk with your group on when, where, and what kind of presentation you would like to do. See the September Action for tips and thoughts on doing an advocacy training in your community, using the new Census poverty data as the inducement for people to attend. Our Outreach Resources page has PowerPoint Presentations (including the slides from tonight's webinar), Action Sheets, and other materials to help make a powerful presentation in your community. If you need help with ideas or materials, please contact Jos Linn for assistance ([email protected]).
Graham-Cassidy Health Bill to Be Released. With their window closing rapidly (the Senate’s health care reconciliation instructions expire on September 30), Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are trying to build support for a new health care proposal. They plan to introduce it this week. Sadly, Graham-Cassidy would block grant the ACA’s premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion, as well as impose per capita caps on traditional Medicaid. This would again be a tremendous cost shift to states and result in hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid. At this time, Senate leadership is not making a big push to pass this legislation. We will monitor this situation and let you know if there are any actions you need to take.
READ Act Passage Helps Keep Government Funded. In a surprise move last week, President Trump backed a plan proposed by congressional Democrats to enact a continuing resolution (CR) to extend government spending past the end of the fiscal year (September 30). The plan now gives Congress until December 8 to pass their FY 2018 budget. The bill, which was passed by both Houses and signed by the President last week, also temporarily raises the debt ceiling and allocates federal relief money to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. But the best part of this news is that the extension was attached to the READ Act, a bill RESULTS has been pushing for years. The READ Act ensures that U.S. investments in global basic education are having the greatest impact. Congratulations, RESULTS Global!
Join Upcoming Prosperity Now Webinars. Prosperity Now (formerly CFED) is hosting two important webinars in the next month. On September 19 at 2:00 pm ET, RESULTS’ own Meredith Dodson will join Prosperity Now to help facilitate “Tax Reform: Fighting for Equity in an Upside-Down Proposal”, which will overview how the tax code incentivizes wealth concentration over wealth creation and how you can help change it. Then on October 10 at 2:00 pm ET, Prosperity Now will host “Making the Connection: Bringing Tax Wonks and Grassroots Activists Together to End Inequality”, which will focus on how grassroots activists can work together to create a movement for a fair and just tax system. Register for both webinars at the Prosperity Now website.
Join Discussion about Race and Employment on September 28. Join the RESULTS Anti-Oppression Working group for our next webinar discussion on Thursday, September 28 at 8:30 pm ET. Building on our excellent discussion from August, this month we’ll be looking at the role of racism and bias in employment practices, recently highlighted in a New York Times editorial. If you care about the problem systemic oppression, please join this robust discussion. To join the webinar, go to: http://fuze.me/34326078 or dial in by phone at: (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 34326078#.
Recess Next Week. The House will be on recess all next week and the Senate will be out September 21-22. Be sure to get your face-to-face meeting requests submitted and if you get a meeting, contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to help you get ready.
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: September 18-22, October 16-20; Senate: September 21-22, October 9-13.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, Tuesday, September 12 at 8:00 pm ET. Participate at http://fuze.me/32255914 or (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#.
RESULTS Introductory Call, Wednesday, September 13 at 9:00pm ET. Register for an upcoming Intro Call on the RESULTS website.
U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, Tuesday, September 19 at 1:00pm and 8:00 pm ET. To participate, login at http://fuze.me/32256018 or dial by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.
Using VolunteerMatch to Grow Your Group, Thursday, September 21 at 8:30 pm ET. Join at: http://fuze.me/35674518 or dial (201) 479-4595, meeting ID 35674518.
Mapping Your Community for Outreach and Engagement, Wednesday, September 27 at 8:30 pm ET. Join at: http://fuze.me/35674518 or dial (201) 479-4595, meeting ID 35674518.
RESULTS Anti-Oppression Group Discussion Webinar, Thursday, September 28 at 8:30 pm ET. To join, go to: http://fuze.me/34326078 or dial in by phone at: (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 34326078#.
2018 RESULTS International Conference, July 14-17, 2018, Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. Save the date and keep an eye out for more details!