Senate Rejects “Skinny” COVID Relief Bill

On September 10, Senate Republicans failed to get enough votes to advance their pared-down version of the COVID-19 relief bill they introduced last month. This bill included a $300 unemployment benefit bonus; additional Paycheck Protection Program loans for businesses experiencing substantial revenue drops; additional education funding (including for private school scholarships); additional funding for development and distribution of vaccines, drugs, and other medical supplies; liability protections; and an expanded charitable tax deduction. This $650 billion bill did not include any of The Arc’s top priorities, which are:

  • Increased federal funding for home and community-based services (HCBS) under Medicaid
  • Increased access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for direct support professionals
  • Expanded eligibility for economic impact payments to adult dependents and another round of payments
  • Paid leave eligibility for family caregivers of adults with disabilities, including siblings and grandparents

We urge you to continue contacting your Senators here.

COVID Relief: Senate Releases Framework for Next Package; Advocacy Needed

Last week, the Senate released a framework for its fourth COVID-19 response bill. The package of bills, called the Healthcare, Economic Assistance, Liability, and Schools (HEALS) Act, fails to include all but one of the disability community’s priorities. The HEALS Act provides a lower extended federal unemployment benefit; funding for schools, child care, and COVID testing; another round of funding for the paycheck protection program; expanded tax credits; and waivers of liability for hospitals, schools, state governments, and businesses. While it would provide a $500 tax rebate for all adult dependents, unfortunately, it does not include The Arc’s other critical priorities: additional home and community based services (HCBS) funding, increased access to personal protective equipment for direct support professionals, or any expansion of paid leave. This framework is a starting point that will be subject to negotiation in the coming weeks.

See a blog post from Nicole Jorwic, The Arc’s Senior Director for Public Policy. We urge you to contact your Senators here.

COVID Relief – Senate Bill Expected Today; Advocacy Still Needed

Senate Republicans have indicated that they plan to release their proposal for the next round of coronavirus relief spending today. While the details are not yet known, it has been reported that the $1 trillion package may include another round of direct payments to individuals, a lower expanded federal unemployment insurance benefit, and funding for schools and COVID-19 testing. The proposal will be used to begin negotiations on the next package.

The Arc’s priorities for the next package include:

  • Increased federal funding for home and community-based services (HCBS) under Medicaid
  • Increased access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for direct support professionals
  • Expanded eligibility for economic impact payments to adult dependents and another round of payments
  • Paid leave eligibility for family caregivers of adults with disabilities, including siblings and grandparents

See The Arc’s July 7 update here. We urge you to contact your Senators.

CMS Extends Deadline for HCBS Settings Rule

On July 14, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in a letter to state Medicaid Directors that the deadline for compliance with the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Settings Rule will be extended until March 17, 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous deadline was March 17, 2022. The HCBS Settings Rules requires all settings funded by Medicaid HCBS programs to, among other things, provide opportunities for participants to be integrated in and engage in community life, have access to the community, control their personal resources, and seek employment and work in competitive settings.

Senate Action Needed on Developing A Fourth Coronavirus Package

The Senate must act to pass legislation that includes the critical needs of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional (DSP) workforce in a new coronavirus package. In May, the House passed its fourth coronavirus package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R.6800), with a vote of 208-199. The Senate will begin negotiations on their fourth coronavirus package when it returns from recess on July 20.

The Arc’s priorities for the fourth package include:

  • Increased federal funding for home and community based services (HCBS) under Medicaid
  • Increased access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for DSPs
    Expanded eligibility for economic impact payments to adult dependents and another round of payments
  • Paid leave eligibility for family caregivers of adults with disabilities, including siblings and grandparents
     

See The Arc’s July 7 update here. We urge you to contact your Senators here.

Senate Action Needed on Developing a Fourth Coronavirus Package

The Senate must act to pass legislation that includes the critical needs of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional workforce in a new Coronavirus package. In May, the House passed its fourth coronavirus package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R.6800) with a vote of 208-199.

This package includes:

  • Increased federal funding for home and community based services (HCBS) under Medicaid
  • Expanded eligibility for economic impact payments to adult dependents and another round of payments
  • Paid leave eligibility for family caregivers of adults with disabilities, including siblings and grandparents

See The Arc’s statement. We urge you to contact your Senators now.

House Passes Fourth Coronavirus Package

On May 15, the House passed its fourth coronavirus package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R.6800) with a vote of 208-199.

This package includes:

  • Increased federal funding for home and community based services (HCBS) under Medicaid
  • Expanded eligibility for economic impact payments to adult dependents and another round of payments
  • Paid leave eligibility for family caregivers of adults with disabilities, including siblings and grandparents

See The Arc’s statement. Now we need the Senate to pass legislation that includes the critical needs of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional workforce. Contact your Senators now.

Fourth Coronavirus Package Under Development

Congressional leaders continue work on another COVID-19 package that could be voted on this month. House Democrats are expected to release a package soon that will provide funding for state and local governments to address revenue shortfalls. It is also expected to include an additional round of direct payments and more funding for Medicaid, nutritional benefits, and unemployment insurance. The Arc’s priorities for that measure are:

  • Grants to support access to home and community-based services (to minimize the risk of people with disabilities being forced into institutions) and to support the direct support professional (DSP) workforce
  • Personal protective equipment for DSPs
  • Paid leave and sick days for family caregivers of adults with disabilities
  • Economic impact payments for all people with disabilities, including adult dependents

Interim Coronavirus Bill Enacted; Other Package Under Development

On April 24, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. The bill includes $310 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, $50 billion for disaster loans, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion for testing. Meanwhile, Congressional leaders continue work on another package that could be voted on some time in May. The Arc’s priorities for that measure include:

  • Grants to support access to home and community-based services (to minimize the risk of people with disabilities being forced into institutions) and to support the direct support professional (DSP) workforce
  • Personal Protective Equipment for DSPs
  • Paid leave and sick days for family caregivers of adults with disabilities
  • Economic impact payments for all people with disabilities, including adult dependents

Interim Coronavirus Bill Could Advance This Week; Other Package Under Development

The House and Senate could vote this week on a new coronavirus aid package that is being negotiated by the White House and Congressional negotiators. Initial reports of the deal include $300 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, $50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion for testing. Meanwhile, Congressional leaders continue work on another package that could be voted on in early May. The Arc’s priorities for that measure include:

•        Grants to support access to home and community-based services (to minimize the risk of people with disabilities being forced into institutions) and to support the direct support professional (DSP) workforce

•        Personal Protective Equipment for DSPs

•        Paid leave and sick days for family caregivers of adults with disabilities

•       Economic impact payments for all people with disabilities, including adult dependents