ARC: Action Alert: Call Today and Help Protect Federal Disability Programs

20 Sep

Last year the United States legislature avoided tough decisions by putting automatic spending cuts into the budget. The phrase “kick the can down the road” was common in the press in discussing the budget negotiations which were ongoing and now we are “down the road”: those cuts are slated to start in 2013. After the elections, I’ll point out. Discretionary programs will see substantial cuts unless the law is changed. Discretionary programs include special education and services for the disabled.

The ARC has put out an action alert to gather support to change the law to reduce those cuts:

Call Today: Help Protect Federal Disability Programs Take Action!
Today is Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) Call Day

Take Action!

Background

While The Arc has been successful so far in its advocacy to prevent cuts to the Medicaid program, many other essential programs are facing severe reductions. The federal discretionary programs that people with disabilities rely upon to live in the community (early intervention, special education, supported employment, housing, transportation, and more) are slated for unprecedented cuts starting in 2013.

Last year’s Budget Control Act (BCA) will require non-defense discretionary programs to be cut dramatically, unless Congress changes the law. First, they will be cut by about 6% over a decade through the BCA’s spending caps. Then they are scheduled to be cut by an additional 8 % through the BCA’s across-the-board cuts (known as “sequestration”) starting in early 2013. The individual programs we care most about could possibly be cut by even greater amounts or eliminated entirely!

Examples of individual programs that could be cut are:

IDEA State Grant that assists the states in meeting the costs of providing special education and related services to children with disabilities.

DD Act Projects of National Significance (PNS) that enhance the independence, productivity, inclusion, and integration of people with developmental disabilities.

CDC National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities that sponsors research and interventions to help children with disabilities to develop and reach their full potential, and promotes health and well-being among people of all ages with disabilities.

Section 811 Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities that creates affordable, accessible housing for low-income non-elderly people with the most serious disabilities to help them live independently in the community.

Take Action

Please call your Members of Congress and remind them of the importance of these critical programs. Click on the Take Action link above to get your Members’ office phone numbers.

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