Last week, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) released a draft of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), also known as the “Farm Bill,” to reauthorize farm programs and policy as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). On net, the Chairman’s draft bill proposes deep cuts to food assistance under SNAP: an estimated 2 million people would lose their SNAP food assistance or see their benefits reduced. On Wednesday, April 18, the House Agriculture Committee will mark up the Chairman’s proposed bill. Visit the Committee’s web site for live video the day of the hearing. The Arc opposes this legislation.
Last week, President Trump issued an Executive Order on “Economic Mobility.” The order requires the Secretaries of the Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education to review their programs and, within 90 days, identify steps and recommendations to establish or expand work requirements in their programs. In response, The Arc’s CEO, Peter V. Berns, said, “If you read between the lines of this executive order, it is a blueprint for sweeping changes that penalize people who are unemployed, across multiple programs. From Medicaid, to housing, to food assistance and other programs – this will result in new barriers to eligibility and denial of critical services. The call for increased economic opportunity is not backed up with provision of tools for individuals to succeed.” Read The Arc’s full statement.
Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Sam Johnson (R-TX) have introduced legislation to bar payment of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to people with an outstanding arrest warrant for an alleged felony or for an alleged violation of probation or parole (H.R. 2792). This would revive an old, failed policy that had catastrophic effects for many people with disabilities and seniors, employing procedures that did not withstand judicial scrutiny. This bill would not change existing policies and procedures, which already bar payments to people fleeing from law enforcement and direct the Social Security Administration to exchange information about fugitive felons and probation or parole violators with law enforcement. Instead, the bill would primarily affect people whose cases are inactive and whom law enforcement is not pursuing; most of the warrants in question are decades old and involve minor infractions. Cutting off benefits will not help resolve warrants – but will threaten the means of survival of hundreds of thousands of Social Security and SSI beneficiaries. The Arc strongly opposes this bill. Learn more from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.
The Arc has released a new video on the proposed $72.4 billion cuts to Social Security disability programs, and its contrast to President Trump’s promise to save Social Security without cuts. The video features Will, a child with a disability who relies on Supplemental Security Income to pay for his seizure medication, and Heather, who needed Social Security Disability Insurance when she was unable to work due to her cancer. Please share this videowidely with your networks to show the impact of cutting Medicaid and repealing major health care protections. For an especially easy option,retweet The Arc of the US and share our Facebook post.
On February 15, the House Ways and Means Committee Human Resources Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the geography of poverty. The hearing will examine the differences between rural, urban, and suburban poverty. Visit the committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (H.R.670) on July 13. This bill will allow individuals to establish special needs trusts on their own behalf. Due to a technical drafting error when the Medicaid statute was modified in 1993, current law only allows a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or a court to establish a Special Needs Trust for an individual. This leads to unnecessary legal expenses for eligible individuals who do not have a guardian or a living parent or grandparent. The Senate approved its version, S.349 in September of 2015.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on “Renewing Communities and Providing Opportunities Through Innovative Solutions to Poverty.” Witnesses were Robert Woodson, Founder and President, Center for Neighborhood Enterprise; Peter L. Ochs, President of Capital II, Inc.; Ron Haskins, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute; and Olivia Golden, Executive Director, Center for Law and Social Policy. Visit the Committee web site to review testimony and archived video.
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold a hearing on Renewing Communities and Providing Opportunities Through Innovative Solutions to Poverty. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.
On Wednesday, June 8, at 3:00 pm EDT, the National Disability Institute is hosting a webinar titled Exploring Bank of America’s “Better Money Habits”. The webinar will review the resources and information available on BetterMoneyHabits.com, a website developed by Bank of America in partnership with the Khan Academy. Register for the webinar here.
Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing on “Moving America’s Families Forward: Setting Priorities for Reducing Poverty and Expanding Opportunity”. Witnesses were former Governor John Engler, President of Business Roundtable; Karin VanZant, Executive Director of Life Services at CareSource; Olivia Golden, Executive Director of CLASP; and Tarren Bragdon, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Foundation for Government Accountability. Visit the Committee web site for more information and to review testimony and watch the archived video.