Update: August 7, 2020
Getting the next COVID-19 bill passed before Congress recesses is at risk. Negotiations on the Senate’s latest COVID-19 relief package, the HEALS Act, may end without a deal before Congress leaves on recess, so we need to keep up our advocacy!
If negotiations end and Senators go home without a deal being reached, it’s likely nothing more will be done until at least Labor Day, or possibly later. What we need can’t wait that long, so please push your Senators not to go home for August recess until a new COVID-19 bill is passed that meets the needs of disabled people. You can find more information here, including call and email scripts.
Rather than releasing the HEALS Act as a single bill, it was released as a series of bills. You can find information on each of those bills here. For more on what priorities are and are not included in the HEALS Act, check out our summary here and for a quick comparison of the HEALS Act and the HEROES Act, click here.
Congress has so far passed three relief packages and one interim package in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:
- The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074)
- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748)
- The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266)- an interim bill with additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, coronavirus testing, and other priorities from the CARES Act
Below is an overview of what we hope to see in the fourth legislative package and details on passed legislation. Links to text and summaries of all of the passed and proposed legislation are included at the bottom of the page. Advocacy related to the fourth legislative package has already begun and it is currently being developed, so continued pressure to ensure disability priorities are included is critical.
Package 4: In progress
CPR and other disability organizations are already working on advocacy for the next COVID-19 package being negotiated in Congress. We are working closely with our allies to promote inclusion of the disability community priorities that were not included in the CARES Act.
More must be done to meet the needs of people with disabilities and it must be done now. Given the fast-moving nature of this crisis, it’s crucial that Congress work quickly to pass legislation that recognizes the outsized impact this is having and will continue to have on disabled people. 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, especially dedicated funding for home and community based services (HCBS).
Additional funding for HCBS is critical to help people with disabilities and seniors remain in their own homes. HCBS funding is critical to help people with disabilities and seniors avoid unnecessary placements in congregate settings (such as nursing homes), where they face a heightened risk of infection and of violation of their civil rights, as well as unnecessary hospitalization, where people with disabilities may be at heightened risk for being denied life-saving care. For more info on the basics of HCBS and why additional HCBS funding is so important to the fight against COVID-19, check out our HCBS COVID-19 fact sheet.
The Senate is about to begin negotiating the fourth COVID-19 relief package and we need to push to make sure dedicated HCBS funding is included, so please contact your Senators and Senate leadership now. More information can be found on our advocacy page, including information on contacting your Senators, email and call scripts, and sample social media.
In May, the House passed a new relief package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800) that addressed 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. However, the Senate will not be working from the HEROES Act in creating the relief package we expect will be introduced shortly after Senators return from recess on July 20th.
For more on what priorities were and were 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 the bill and a one page summary of state and local fiscal relief provisions. We will update this page with information on the forthcoming Senate proposal when it is released.
Below are details on previously passed legislation in response to COVID-19, proposed legislation, and additional resources.