The Arc’s Peter Berns speaks out in Washington to protect Social Security from harmful cuts

Many programs vital to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) have been at risk of deep cuts during the recent deficit reduction negotiations. Social Security is still in danger of being cut as Members of Congress consider a proposal to change the way benefits are calculated.  This shift to what is called the “chained CPI” is a cut to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Cuts from the “chained CPI” get bigger every year and could have horrible consequences for people with I/DD over time.

Last week, The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns was invited to speak at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol, organized by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Berns was joined by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and representatives from other organizations whose constituencies would be impacted by this benefit cut. To read more visit our blog.

The Arc at the Table with President Obama to Discuss Tax Cuts for the Middle Class, Budget and Medicaid

Last week, The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns participated in a small meeting with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior economic advisors about the President’s goal to stop middle class tax increases and to raise revenues to help invest in the nation and reduce the deficit.  The discussion centered on the urgency of passing a plan to avert raising taxes on the middle class and to raise revenues to finance the federal government without allowing drastic cuts to programs that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and other vulnerable groups rely on, like education, housing, and employment.  These cuts are scheduled to take place on January 1, 2013, along with the expiration of a variety of tax provisions. To read more visit our blog.

The Arc to Bring Four Families to White House for Meeting on Medicaid

On Wednesday, July 6th, four families will join The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns and Public Policy Director Marty Ford in a meeting with key staff at the White House on Medicaid.  The purpose of the meeting is for the White House to hear how Medicaid cuts would affect each family’s circumstances as President Obama continues to engage in deficit reduction talks.

The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns Appointed to Presidential Committee

President Barack Obama announced his appointments to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, which included The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns. This expert group will provide advice and assistance to President Obama and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of topics that impact people with I/DD and their families.

The Arc and UCP – New policy operations to be created

Since 2003, the Disability Policy Collaboration (DPC) has been the shared public policy arm of The Arc and UCP. The DPC focuses on federal legislative and regulatory efforts to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. Since its inception, the DPC has been a vital force in shaping federal legislation to advance the lives of people with disabilities and, most recently, played a significant role in the passage of Health Care Reform as well as Rosa’s Law. With the announced retirement of Staff Director Paul Marchand in December 2010, the two organizations began a reassessment of the collaboration to determine the most effective way to engage in advocacy and policy efforts in the future. Effective April 1, 2011, the DPC will cease and each organization will resume its own public policy program while continuing to join together on select projects as well as actively participate as members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD).

“The efforts of the DPC have had an immeasurable impact on federal legislation and regulatory efforts that improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc. “As we move forward, The Arc and UCP will continue to be vigorous advocates for people with disabilities and to create opportunity in every aspect of their lives.”

“We are proud of all that the DPC has accomplished over its eight years, pushing for civil rights protections and public policies that provide support to ensure fair and full citizenship for people with disabilities,” said Stephen Bennett, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Cerebral Palsy. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with The Arc, both as a member of CCD and through shared, targeted projects. We believe that our new approach will only expand the number and strength of advocates striving to create a life without limits for people with disabilities.”