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September 15, 2020Advocacy Matters

Update on Federal COVID-19 Relief 

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender 

September 15, 2020 


Update on Federal COVID-19 Relief  


Advocates, providers, our family members, and friends have really pushed hard over the last several months to move the U.S. (United States). Senate to pass a fourth COVID relief package that supplies adequate resources for home and community-based service, special education, and funding to state and local governments 

Unfortunately, negotiations between the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives has not yet producea compromise packageOn September 9ththe Senate tried to move a “skinny” COVID relief package. It failed. This Senate effort was inadequate to meet the needs of disabled people. 

As we have said before on your show, a fourth COVID relief package is important for so many reasons. We are going to give you one more reason – state and local government funding. 

Why are we so nervous in PennsylvaniaPennsylvania enacted a stopgap budget for 5 months that carried most agencies through the end of November on level fundingPennsylvania is significantly behind on revenue and some lawmakers wanted to wait to see if Congress would supply a direct payment to the state to support budgets that were hit hard by COVID-19 

Moving forward, Pennsylvania does not have enough revenue to fund all our human services needs without a direct payment from CongressWe are concerned about cuts to education, including special educationWe are concerned about how the state will cover the increased costs in our state waiver programs. 

We now know the stakes are highRelief is needed. 

Congress has two weeks left before they recessThey will recess to campaign for reelection and will not return until after the November election. 

If there is not a package negotiated before the end of September, some congressional insiders say it is unlikely that a package will pass before the general election or by the end of their term in December. 


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