Update: May 15, 2020
Today, the House passed a new relief package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800). The bill addresses many of the disability community’s most urgent priorities, including additional funding for home and community based services, Medicaid, and housing programs and hazard pay for direct service providers. It has now been sent to the Senate, though when the Senate will take it up remains unclear.
For more on what priorities are and are not included in the HEROES Act, check out our summary here. A section-by-section summary of the bill is also available here. The House Appropriations Committee has also made available a one page summary of bill and a one page summary of state and local fiscal relief provisions.
Congress is currently negotiating the next COVID-19 package and we are working closely with our allies to promote inclusion of the disability community priorities that were not included in the CARES Act. We need your help now to push Congress to include those priorities in the next COVID-19 package!
Disability organizations, including CPR, sent a letter to Congressional leadership identifying the most critical priorities for the disability community that must be addressed in the next round of legislation and have also drafted a list of priorities we will continue to advocate for, including additional funding for home and community based services (HCBS) to help people with disabilities and older adults remain in their own homes, access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for direct care workers and increased production of PPE and ventilators, civil rights protections for people with disabilities, including the provision of funding for safe and accessible voting, and increased funding for housing programs.
Our top priority for the next COVID-19 bill is additional HCBS funding. HCBS funding is critical to help people with disabilities and seniors avoid unnecessary placement in congregate settings (such as nursing homes), which are especially dangerous during this crisis. The Community Living Policy Center has put together an excellent brief detailing the HCBS COVID-19 response proposal and why it’s so important to include in the next response package that you can read here.
Please contact your members of Congress! Many offices are not able to receive calls at the moment, so we recommend using email and social media and have included an email script and information on contacting your members of Congress on Facebook and Twitter below.
Additionally, the disability community has come together to organize weeks of action, happening now, to bring our priorities to Congress’ attention. We encourage everyone to please tell your HCBS story as part of the #WeAreEssential campaign! You can find more details below or in this toolkit.