|Meeting with Boxer's Aide||Urgent Action: Final Senate Push on TB||Fundraising Success||Regional Conference|
RESULTS' top domestic legislative priorities this year include the Hunger Relief Act (HRA), which would expand access to Food Stamps. Although it is not considered to be welfare, the Food Stamp program was cut back sharply in the welfare "reform" legislation of 1996. Since then, RESULTS and others have worked to reverse these cuts.
The House Agriculture Committee included two of the four HRA provisions in an amendment to the FY 2001 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The amendment allows states to set a higher limit than the current $4,650 on the value of a car owned by a food stamp recipient. This limit was set at $4,500 in 1977, at a time when you could buy new or slightly used subcompact for this amount. The amendment also allows food stamp recipients to pay higher rent without jeopardizing their benefit.
The amendment did not include provisions of the HRA that would restore Food Stamp benefits to legal immigrants, and increase funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) by $100 million over five years. TEFAP supplies commodities to food banks and other food providers. As we go to press, the House is debating the bill and it is almost certain to pass without further amendment on the HRA provisions.
The Senate Agriculture Committee passed the same amendment with these two provisions of the Hunger Relief Act, on a near-party-line vote, with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) voting with the Democrats in favor of the amendment.
The editorial generated by RESULTS partner Bruce Kessler in the Chambersburg
(PA) Public Opinion in support of the Hunger Relief Act, just before
the vote, may have helped strengthen Specter's resolve to follow his conscience
on this issue.
By Sharon Fiekowsky, partner, San Jose RESULTS
This piece is about what happens when you make that call 'one more time.' I had called Senator Boxer's DC office several times without any apparent result. So, when Meredith Dodson of the RESULTS Domestic support staff asked me to contact the local office and try to arrange a meeting with the Senator during the recess, I was less than enthusiastic.
I dutifully called and, of course, couldn't arrange to meet with Boxer, but her aide, Heather Cho, was very interested in meeting with us. I called Heather again during the week of September 10 to discuss the Hunger Relief Act (HRA) and arrange a meeting, and on September 13 Boxer was added to the list of co-sponsors.
On September 22, my husband Peter and I had the pleasure of meeting with Heather. When we had met with her DC staff in June, they assured us of Boxer's support of HRA and the Stop TB Now bills. Heather informed us that there had been a significant staff turnover in DC; that was the probable reason for our requests falling through the cracks. She offered her services for whatever we needed.
Peter and I spent much of our meeting generating a relationship; finding out about Heather and what motivated her to pursue her career in politics. I have found that whatever profession or calling we are involved with, the most frequently stated reason for doing something is 'to make a difference.' Heather was no different in this regard. When I asked her how we could make her job easier, she asked that we send her information, updates, and generally keep her posted on what we need. Basically, she said that calling and reminding her of important issues (nudging), was the best thing we could do.<-- -->
We asked Heather "What would it take for Boxer to take a leadership role in securing full funding for Head Start?" She replied that not only did Senator Boxer support full funding, but she had already begun speaking about the need for full funding during an early childhood education meeting she attended in Sacramento the week before our visit. It has only been 3 months since our hill visits, and the senator has already taken on the conversation we began in her very crowded conference room.
I have since called Heather to ask Senator Boxer to send letters to the leadership regarding the HRA and funding for TB control. While Heather hasn't been able to grant all our requests, she has made it clear that she supports our efforts and has offered to act as an intermediary in Washington DC — we will definitely call her when it is time for our hill visits in June. Heather has said she would call the scheduler for us — hopefully getting us a face-to-face meeting with the Senator.
RESULTS is working hard to increase funding for TB control programs. Please call Senator Feinstein at 202-224-3841and ask for Michael Schiffer. Please call Senator Boxer at 202-224-3553 and ask for Sean Moore. Ask the aide to have the Senator communicate with Senator Patrick Leahy in support of a funding level of at least $60 million (the House level) for international TB control in the final Foreign Operations bill. You can also fax letters to Feinstein at 202-228-3954 and to Boxer at 202-228-4056.
Contra Costa RESULTS held a benefit for RESULTS Sunday, September 24, raising over $3000 for RESULTS. Congratulations to all who worked on the event, and thanks very much to the donors, for their investment in generating political will to end hunger and poverty.
Meet your RESULTS partners from all over California
Take inspiration from our successes
Sing our favorite RESULTS songs
Sharpen your lobbying skills and knowledge of the issues
Network with others working to eradicate disease & hunger
Plan the future of your RESULTS group
Redwood Gardens, 2951 Derby Street, Berkeley CA 94705
Transit: BART to Berkeley, then AC Transit #7
Registration & more info: RESULTS office, 202-783-7100 or http://www.annalou.com/conf.html
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