Saturday, July 9, 2011

Take Action to Protect the Poor

The President has announced meetings with Congressional leaders to make progress on the deficit reduction plans now being negotiated.  There are grave concerns there will be large spending cuts in Medicaid and “discretionary” spending including critical investments in appropriations for vital foreign aid programs as well as Head Start and child care assistance for low-income working families in the US, that will hurt millions of vulnerable children and families.  Advocates must elevate the potential devastating impacts these negotiations can have on low-income people and programs.  By calling or emailing the White House you can show strong support for holding firm against damaging cuts.

Call or send a message to the White House (to President Obama and Vice President Biden). Call toll-free: (888) 245-0215 or send a message (you can paste the following into the WH comment line or write something in your own words)

Urge them to: Please hold firm and prevent harmful cuts or caps to low-income programs in the negotiations to reduce the deficit. Please insist on fair increases in revenues to prevent reckless cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, Head Start, and other essential services. And, slashing effective foreign aid programs won’t do anything for our national deficit, but would have a tragic impact on these life-improving and life-savings programs.

Please take action today by asking the White House to protect our families in the deficit reduction deal. Go here to send the White House your message: Thanks to our good friends at the Coalition on Human Needs for sharing their toll-free number. 
Background: Congress is likely to pass some kind of deficit reduction proposal in the next few weeks. RESULTS is also concerned about budget deficits and recognize that we need a long-term solution to this problem. However, we have serious concern over the “solutions” now being considered, which disproportionately target programs that help low-income Americans and could also lead to deep cuts to anti-poverty programs around the world.

Last week, President Obama stepped up the pressure on Congress to resolve the issues around the federal deficit and get a deal done as soon as possible. This was on the heels of key Republicans walking out of talks over Democratic proposals to include new revenue as part of a deficit reduction package. President Obama reiterated his position that serious deficit reduction cannot rely on spending cuts alone; new revenue, preferable from high income earners who have seen their taxes drop significantly over the last decade. He also said that Congress should not go on upcoming recesses until a deal is done; that request was quickly heeded when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the Senate would not go on recess this week, but would stay in session to continue budget talks.

The threats to critical anti-poverty programs here in the US — Medicaid, Head Start, SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program), the Earned Income Tax Credit, and others — are very real. Mathematically, slashing global poverty programs won’t make a dent in the deficit. Most Americans think the U.S. spends 25 percent of its budget on development assistance — but it’s really less than 1 percent! (Most Americans would be happy to cut foreign aid to 7–10 percent.) While slashing these effective programs won’t do anything for our national deficit, it would have a tragic impact on these life-improving and life-savings programs. Let’s make sure they make the right decisions and protect vulnerable populations from reckless and cruel budget cuts.

** In addition to reaching out to the White House, we urge you to weigh in with your members of Congress. Use our call-in alert to call Congress toll-free or send e-mails to Congress through our website. For more information about RESULTS and how you can make a difference, including our work in communities across the country to create the political will to end poverty, please visit our website:  

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