Assets Learning Conference: Lobbying 101

3 thoughts on “Assets Learning Conference: Lobbying 101”

  1. Assets advocates successfully met with more than 200 legislative offices to ask support for a continual system of savings and wealth building incentives. Savings incentives should be available at tax time, with employers, when receiving social services from nonprofits, or at the birth of a child. More than 350 assets advocates attempted to persuade members of Congress to support bills that provide accounts and matches that could provide savings and wealth building opportunities for low income families.

    After the hill visits, Mr. Feeney (D-FL) and Mr. Boucher (D-VA) contacted CFED to say they would cosponsor the IDA tax credit legislation!

    CFED received hundreds of meeting report forms and we will follow up with additional meetings through the end of the year. See incentives work: Lots of folks earned their free drink tickets!

    We’ll soon announce which advocate earned a free 2010 conference registration in the hill visit meeting report form lottery. Remember to fax your forms to 202 408-9793.

    CFED will send a draft meeting thank you note and follow up to advocates next week to make sure everyone can follow up with who they met.

  2. A few conference attendees inquired about CFED’s plan to reauthorize the Assets for Independence program (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/afi/index.html).

    AFI still has bipartisan Congressional support, receiving $24 million annually (slightly less than it $25 million reauthorization). However, it’s authorization expired five years ago.

    CFED and practitioners from the key legislators’ districts met with the members of Congress and their staff met during September 11’s hill visits to discuss AFI reauthorization.

    Practitioners including Margaret Miley from MIDAS, Renee Getreau from JEDI, Terra Holcomb from United Way of King County, and Dave Sieminski previously from UWKC) eloquently made the case that AFI has successfully transformed lives (see the evaluation reports published this year: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/afi/research.html)

    They urged the Committee staff of Mr. McDermott, Mr. Herger, and Mr. Kennedy to make the technical fixes to the legislation that would increase its utility in rural communities and high cost areas (raising income limits to 80% of Area Median Income, permitting more support for financial education, lowering the local match rate requirement) and remove some burdens (pro rata interest rate matching and submitting annual reports to the State Treasurer).

    The staff members were knowledgeable about the program and said that getting time on the full agenda of the Ways and Means Committee has been the biggest obstacle.

    However, our meetings showed that IDA practitioners and assets advocates still have much work to do to persuade some legislators that low income families can save. For example, in our meeting with Mr. McDermott (D-WA), we quoted our partner, UNCF (http://www.uncf.org) that individual and family savings has been the missing part of their scholarship efforts: the federal government should invest in asset building for low income families like they do upper income families AND provide grant support for college education, small business, and homeownership.

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