COVID-19 Advocacy

Update: October 7, 2020

Last week, the House passed a revised version of the HEROES Act, the COVID-19 relief package it had originally passed in May, as part of ongoing negotiations between House leadership and the White House for a much needed relief package.  Yesterday, President Trump announced a halt to those efforts until after the election, although he has since appeared to backtrack on that.

While the HEROES Act includes the top priorities of the disability community, including dedicated funding for home and community based services, those priorities are not included in the coronavirus relief proposals that the Administration has to date said it is willing to consider. We urge everyone to please contact your members of Congress and tell them that we need relief and we need it now! You can email and tweet your members of Congress directly here and you can also find more information below, including call and email scripts.

You can find a quick comparison of the revised HEROES Act and the Senate’s recent coronavirus proposals here. For more on what is and is not included in the House’s revised bill, check out the list we’ve put together here, which we will continue to update as we review the bill.

Overview

On October 1, the House passed a revised version of the HEROES Act, the COVID-19 relief package it had originally passed in May, in an effort to continue negotiations on much needed additional coronavirus relief and talks between House leadership and the White House have been ongoing. On October 6 President Trump announced a halt to those efforts until after the election, but he has since appeared to backtrack on that.

The needs of the disability community are not addressed in the coronavirus relief proposals that the Administration has to date said it is willing to consider. Specifically, the Administration’s proposals have not included the additional funding for home and community based services (HCBS) that is so desperately needed right now to help people with disabilities and older adults remain safely in their homes rather than being forced into nursing homes and other congregate settings, where infections and deaths from COVID-19 are rampant. We urge everyone to please contact your members of Congress and tell them that disabled people need relief and we need it now!

The House’s revised bill (also known as HEROES 2.0) includes that dedicated HCBS funding and many of our community’s other urgent priorities, like additional funding for Medicaid and for critical housing and nutrition programs. You can find a quick comparison of the revised bill and the Senate’s recent coronavirus proposals here. For more on what is and is not included in the new version of the HEROES Act, check out the list we’ve put together here, which we will continue to update as we review the bill. You can also find additional summaries of the bill on our website. For more on HCBS and why dedicated HCBS funding is so important to the fight against COVID-19, check out our HCBS COVID-19 fact sheet

Please contact your members of Congress! It’s important that they hear from us about why disability priorities matter! You can email and tweet your members of Congress directly here and you can also find more information below, including call and email scripts.

Contact Your Members of Congress

Contact Your Members of Congress

  • Email: We’ve put together a portal you can use to email your members of Congress directly here using our email script. 
  • Call: Call the Capitol Switchboard at: (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (tty) and ask to be connected to your members of Congress.
  • Social Media: You can use this tool to easily tweet your members of Congress using our sample tweets below.
  • We are also co-hosting call-in days every Wednesday and we encourage everyone to participate! You can find call-in scripts and more information here.

Easy Email/Call Script:

Hello, this is [Name]. I’m a resident of [Town, State]. 

I am [writing/calling] [Senator’s or Representative’s Name] because it is critical that negotiations for more coronavirus relief continue and that the needs of disabled people, which have so far been unmet during this crisis, be part of any future relief bills. The House’s new version of the HEROES Act addresses many of those needs and I ask you to please continue working to get a bill passed that gives us the relief we need now.

I would especially ask that you work to ensure that additional relief includes dedicated funding for home and community-based services (HCBS), which is desperately needed to help disabled people and older adults remain safely in their homes rather than being forced into nursing homes and other congregate settings, where infections and deaths from COVID-19 are rampant. Dedicated HCBS funding will save lives, and we need it now.

I also ask that you oppose any effort like those found in the Senate’s recent coronavirus relief bills to shield businesses, non-profits, schools, or medical providers from liability for serious harm related to COVID-19. Liability shields threaten the safety of people with disabilities and older adults in congregate settings and make it easier for employers to engage in discrimination and safety violations in the workplace, and for businesses to refuse to accommodate disabled people.

Thank you!

[IF EMAILING OR LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address and zip code to ensure your email or call is tallied]

Sample Tweets

[Your Senator’s/Representative’s Twitter Handle] We need #CovidRelief now, especially the additional #HCBS funding in the HEROES Act that would help disabled people access services safely at home, not in institutions with severe #COVID19 outbreaks. #DoYourJob and keep talks going to get us #WhatWeNeed!

[Your Senator’s/Representative’s Twitter Handle] We need #CovidRelief now. #DoYourJob & keep talks going to get us #WhatWeNeed, incl. add’l #HCBS funding! HCBS gives me the power to [your story here]

Senators from the following states are on the Finance Committee, which oversees Medicaid funding, and are particularly important to contact:

CO, DE, IA, ID, IN, KS, NY, LA, MD, MI, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TX, VA, WA, WY

HCBS stories from these states are particularly helpful, so please spread the word!

Please also consider contacting Congressional leadership and Senate Finance Committee leadership as well. Those members are:

Senate Leadership:

House of Representatives Leadership:

Senate Finance Committee Leadership:

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