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We are urging people to call the White House on Thursday, December 12 to urge support for the U.N. Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. If you missed December 12, please take the action anyway!
The media generated by Bay Area RESULTS partners in 2002 so far includes two editorials, one newspaper opinion piece, one newspaper article, four letters to the editor, one letter to NPR's Talk of the Nation read on the air, and one radio interview. Meanwhile, RESULTS partners have generated similar results in communities all across the United States. Generating media is one of the ways we mobilize political will on our issues.
A segment on RESULTS' work to mobilize congressional support for $200 million for international TB control programs was featured on Thanksgiving Day on NPR's Morning Edition, Thursday, November 28. The story included interviews with RESULTS Legislative Director Joanne Carter, and Tulsa partner Scott Swearingen, who also serves on the RESULTS board of directors.
RESULTS' major global goals for 2002 are to increase funding for international TB control programs to $200 million, and increase funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria to $1.2 billion; and to fund international microcredit programs at $175 million, with at least half the funds mandated go to programs serving the poorest.
Congress has not yet passed a foreign aid appropriation bill for FY 2003, which started October 1, 2002. Foreign aid programs are funded through January 11 under a continuing resolution. Congress has adjourned and a new Congress will meet in January to take action on the unfinished business. So we cannot report how much funding will be available for the programs we care about.
In 2000, Congress allocated $60 million to international TB control programs, more than doubling the previous year's funding. In 2001, Congress allocated $75 million. Both of these increases are largely attributable to RESULTS' lobbying. In 2002, RESULTS supported an increase to $200 million. It is unlikely that Congress will appropriate this amount for FY 2003, but RESULTS will continue to press for this amount in our 2003 legislative campaign for FY 2004.
More information on TB and Global Health is available on the RESULTS website.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM). Inernational health experts agree that at least $7–10 billion new money annually, in addition to existing bilateral aid and private charities, is required to begin to bring these diseases under control. As the United States has about 20 percent of the world's economic output, a fair share for the U.S. would be in the range of $1.4–2 billion. In 2001, the House of Representatives, led by Reps. Henry Hyde (R-IL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA), chair and ranking Democrat on the House International Relations committee, passed a bill calling for $750 million for the GFATM. But the Senate failed to pass corresponding legislation.
In 2002, Senate Democrats including Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) were prepared to lead on an amendment to a supplemental appropriation providing $700 million for the GFATM. But when Senators Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Bill Frist (R-TN) proposed $500 million, Democratic supporters agreed to support this lower figure. $500 million would be only one-third to one-quarter of a U.S. fair share for the GFATM, but it would be a significant increase from $200 million.
Shortly before the vote, President George W. Bush contacted Senators Helms and Frist and urged them to support no more than $200 million for the GFATM. Although Senator Frist is a medical doctor, his loyalty to the president trumped health considerations. In what can only be described as a last-minute doublecross, Helms and Frist astonished Democratic supporters of the GFATM by introducing an amendment for $200 million instead of the agreed $500 million. This lower figure was passed and signed by President Bush.
President Bush had promised new funds for the GFATM, but so far the White House has only cut, never increased, funds for this program.
Congress adjourned for 2002 without passing a foreign aid appropriation for FY 2003. Foreign aid is funded temporarily through a continuing resolution. When Congress reconvenes in January, RESULTS will work again for increased funding for the GFATM.
RESULTS has championed microenterprise lending and support as a tool for helping people lift themselves and their families up from poverty since 1986 — longer than any other advocacy group in Washington. From the beginning, we have coaxed USAID to target money to the poorest, but non-binding language has enabled USAID to target most of the money to poor persons one or two rungs up the ladder from the poorest. This year we worked hard to get Congress to pass legislation mandating that at least half the funds go to programs reaching the poorest. More information on microcredit and reaching the poorest is available on the RESULTS website.
In June, the House passed H.R.4073, which had several provisions RESULTS strongly supported. This bill would:
At the RESULTS international Conference in June, there was a lobbying visit with Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), who introduced the very first microcredit bill, back in 1986. Participating in the June 18 visit were Sam Daley-Harris, founder of RESULTS and Executive Director of the Microcredit Summit; RESULTS partner Barbara Cannas of Rockland County, New York, a constituent of Rep. Gilman; RESULTS Legislative Associate Leila Nimatallah; and three members of RESULTS San Francisco.
Our purpose was to make two specific requests of Rep. Gilman. First, for him to lead a congressional effort to have President Bush and USAID Administrator Natsios attend the Microcredit Summit +5. Second, for him to work to get a Senate version of H.R.4073 introduced.
Clockwise from lower left: San Francisco RESULTS partners Anna Haight and Joel Rubinstein, Microcredit Summit Executive Director Sam Daley-Harris, Rockland County New York RESULTS partner and Gilman constituent Barbara Cannas, Congressman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), RESULTS Legislative Associate Leila Nimatallah, RESULTS Administrative Assistant Kalimba Miller.
This was the most amazing lobbying visit any of us have ever participated in. First, Rep. Gilman spoke very frankly with us about his political career. He had served in Congress for 30 years. Pursuant to the 2000 census, New York State had lost two congressional districts, and the redistricting plan had divided his district out of existence, leaving him with difficult choices about where to run for re-election. (Gilman later decided not to run again for Congress.) The New York Times had already covered Gilman's plight, so he wasn't sharing any secrets with us, but it established a kind of special intimacy as a very senior legislator was sharing with us the one of the most important decisions he had faced in his long career.
Congressman Gilman responded to the first request by saying that he would circulate a congressional sign-on letter to President Bush and the USAID admistrator, urging them to attend the Microcredit Summit +5. Sam Daley-Harris handed him a prepared draft. (Gilman began circulating it as a sign-on letter few days later.) Then Gilman telephoned Natsios' assistant, a gentleman who used to be on Gilman's own staff. Right in front of us, he had a telephone conversation with Natsios' assistant about the Microcredit Summit, and Gilman urged him that both he and his boss should attend. (As it turned out, neither President Bush nor USAID Administrator Natsios attended the Microcredit Summit +5; however, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill did attend.)
In response to our second request, Gilman said that it was important to act quickly, because it was already mid-June, and pretty soon it would be the August recess, and after that, pretty soon Congress would be in a hurry to end the session so members could go home and campaign for the November election. Gilman named five senators who he thought would be likely supporters: Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), and Joseph Biden (D-DE). In the course of half an hour, he telephoned each of these five senators. None of the five senators were available, but he spoke at length with senior aides to all five, making friendly small talk and then stressing the urgency of a Senate companion bill to H.R. 4073.
RESULTS partners frequently ask our members of Congress to contact other legislators in support of our bills. Sometimes they do so, and this is one of the ways we get results. But it was special for a member of Congress to make six telephone calls like that, while we were right there!
Senator Paul Sarbanes did introduce companion Senate legislation identical to H.R. 4073, and it passed the Senate International Relations Committee. USAID requested some minor changes that did not concern RESULTS. The Senate passed the amended version shortly before adjourning.
A bill cannot become law unless it passes in identical versions in the House and Senate. So the House had to pass the version as amended in the Senate. During the week of Monday, November 18, the House held a number of pro forma sessions, in which it could have considered this bill. Unfortunately, House Republican leadership made a decision to consider only "Homeland Security" legislation, so the bill did not get the opportunity to pass Congress and go to the White House for the President's signature.
This may seem like a failure, but we actually achieved a great deal. RESULTS Legislative Director Joanne Carter said that there are three really good pieces of news regarding H.R.4073. She reports:
RESULTS will keep this issue as a major focus of our efforts in the next few months.
RESULTS' major domestic goals for 2002 are to reauthorize the nation's welfare program TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) with liberalizing reforms, and to expand the availability of IDAs (Individual Development Accounts), a vehicle for low-income individuals and families to build capital for education, home purchase, or to start a small business.
RESULTS' policy recommendations for TANF include:
More complete description of RESULTS' welfare proposals is on the RESULTS website.
Congress adjourned for 2002 without passing a reauthorization of the welfare program. The 1996 law, which created the TANF program, was to have expired on October 1, 2002. It now has been extended to March 31, 2003.
While some may be disappointed at the failure of Congress to complete work on welfare reauthorization, others breathed a sigh of relief. That is because the bill passed by the House in May would have put new burdens on families and states by increasing work requirements for welfare recipients, but limited access to education and training and failed to provide other resources necessary to help families succeed in the move from welfare to work. In particular, the bill's stricter work requirements would have increased the need for child care. However, the House legislation provided only a small $200 million per year increase in new child care funding — woefully inadequate either to help the millions of children in low-income working families who currently are not receiving child care assistance or to meet the increased demand for child care brought on by new work requirements.
RESULTS volunteers played a part in preventing Congress from passing a harsh TANF bill that would have made it harder for low-income Americans to lift themselves out of poverty.
Low-income people often lack the opportunity that upper-income people have to save money and accumulate assets, making it difficult to escape poverty. Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are special savings accounts that give low-income working families incentive and encouragement to save by matching their savings. The savings they accumulate can later be used to buy a first home, pay for college, or start a small business. More information on IDAs is available on the RESULTS website.
Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced S.592, the Savings Opportunity and Charitable Giving Act of 2001, also known as the CARE act. This bill would have allowed for 900,000 new IDA accounts.
In June, the Senate Finance Committee passed a charitable giving bill containing the IDA provisions of S.592, but allowing for 300,000 new IDA accounts. This would be a major expansion of IDAs in the United States. The full Senate did not vote on this bill. Senator Santorum asked the Senate for unanimous consent to pass the bill, but met with objections unrelated to the IDA provision.
We came VERY close to expanding IDAs this year, and have made a lot of progress toward enactment, in the long run, of policies to support low-income families to develop assets.
RESULTS will work to make sure that initiatives such as expanding IDAs are considered in the new Congress in 2003.
We will have a RESULTS Regional Workday Saturday, February 8 at the home of Sue Oehser in the Montclair district of Oakland. This will be an opportunity to meet your RESULTS partners from Sacramento to Santa Cruz. Please mark your calendar now. We are still planning the details, but we plan to start at 10 am and end at 5 or 6 pm. We will work on the necessary skills for building the capacity and effectiveness of RESULTS. And of course, we will have fun, and sing our favorite RESULTS songs. For more information, speak with your group leader or Sue Oehser at 510-339-0243.
Paul Wellstone, senator from Minnesota, championed the needs of working people, the poor, and the environment. At a recent international conference, he launched our lobbying day with great passion and inspiration.
Some participants join RESULTS with a preconceived notion that one political party is responsible for the evil in the world today. When Paul Wellstone joined the Senate, he made no secret of his disdain for Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC). And just as we in RESULTS have learned to find common ground with legislators of both major parties, in his twelve years in the Senate, Paul Wellstone too found common ground with Senator Helms, and even cosponsored some bills with him.
The RESULTS community is deeply saddened by the loss October 25th of Senator Paul Wellstone, who died in a small plane crash with his wife, daughter, three campaign workers, and the two pilots of the plane near Eveleth, Minnesota.
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