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February 23, 2021Advocacy Matters

American Rescue Plan through Budget Reconciliation

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender

February 23, 2021

#AdvocacyMatters Segment

American Rescue Plan through Budget Reconciliation

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Nearly a year into the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis, the disability community is still waiting for the full support of Congress to meet our critical needs. Several COVID-19 relief bills have been enacted but those laws have not been enough to support Medicaid home and community-based service, provide stimulus payments to many people with disabilities, and help with additional rental assistance for those who are facing eviction.

The disability community has organized our collective efforts to push for our economic needs in the next COVID-19 relief bill called the American Rescue Plan. Once all of the Committee bills are combined into a budget reconciliation bill, it has the best chance of being the right kind of robust proposal to health the disability community.

The American Rescue Plan being under consideration by the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. The House bill contains important provisions for the disability community. Most importantly, the House version of the American Rescue Plan includes funds that will be dedicated to Medicaid home and community-based services. All previous COVID relief bills have excluded dedicated funding for home and community-based services. The House bill also includes another temporary extension of an increase in SNAP food assistance benefits, an extension of the federal eviction moratorium, temporarily extending federal pandemic unemployment assistance through August, and providing a $1,400 dollar stimulus payment to more people with disabilities by making the payments available to roughly 15 million more adult dependents.

While the House is expected to pass the COVID relief bill with these important provisions, the battle will be in the Senate where any Senator could attempt to weaken to scall back the bill.

The House is expected to vote on the American Rescue Plan this week or next. The Senate will start to consider the bill the first week of March.

#AdvocacyMatters. The greatest risk right now is for Congress to do too little, not too much, to address the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis for people with disabilities. We know what is needed: Congress should quickly pass the House relief bill and we need to work on the U.S. Senate to include the same important home and community-based funding as the House bill.

You can help by contacting your members of Congress and urging them to pass the American Rescue Plan. We have links to several national organizations that have put out easy-to-fill-in contact information for you. Visit us at disabilityrightspa.org for those links.

American Association of People with Disabilities Action Alert

The Arc Action Alert