Bill Protecting Social Security and SSI Recipients From Overpayment Penalties Introduced

On July 29, Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL), John Larson (D-CT), and Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced the Fairness for Seniors and People with Disabilities During COVID-19 Act (H.R. 7830). This bill protects Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients from having to repay overpayments accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Arc strongly supports this legislation.

House Committee Holds Hearing on “Experiences of Vulnerable Populations During Disaster”

On July 28, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management held a hearing titled “Experiences of Vulnerable Populations During Disaster.” Witnesses were Curtis Brown, State Coordinator of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, testifying on behalf of the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management; Chad Higdon, CEO, Second Harvest Community Food Bank; Marcie Roth, Executive Director and CEO, World Institute on Disability; and Diane Yentel, President and CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Visit the Committee website for more information or to view video of the hearing.

Eviction Moratorium Expires

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act eviction moratorium expired on July 24, allowing landlords to issue 30 days’ notice for tenants to vacate properties. Landlords who had been covered by the 120-day moratorium are no longer prohibited by federal law from serving eviction notices. Without immediate action, millions of people in America are at possible risk of eviction from their homes during the pandemic. Unfortunately, the Senate HEALS Act does not include an eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent for the duration of the public health emergency, as proposed in the House-passed HEROES Act (H.R.6800) and Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act (H.R.7301). It also does not include the needed resources so that people can remain or achieve housing stability and have a better chance to stay safe and healthy.

House Passes FY 2021 Spending Package

On July 31, the House approved a $1.3 trillion spending package for fiscal year (FY) 2021 that begins on October 1. This package (H.R. 7617) combines seven of the 12 annual spending bills: Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy-Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-HUD. The measure is not expected to be taken up by the Senate. Instead, one or more continuing resolutions are expected to continue funding the federal government after the start of FY 21.

Office for Civil Rights Releases Annual Report to Congress

On July 29, the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released its Annual Report to Congress for FY 2019. The report found that almost half of complaints filed with OCR in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 related to disability discrimination, with the most common complaint involving students not receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Among other things, the report also highlights the Department’s restraint and seclusion initiative, including compliance reviews, data quality reviews, and technical assistance.

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.

House to Vote on FY 2021 Spending Package

The House plans to take up a $1.37 trillion spending package for fiscal year (FY) 2021 that begins on October 1. This package (H.R. 7617) combines seven of the 12 annual spending bills: Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy-Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-HUD. The measure is expected to pass the House along party lines, but not to be taken up by the Senate. Instead, one or more continuing resolutions are expected to continue funding the federal government after the start of FY 21.

House to Vote on Affordable Child Care Bills

The House plans to take up two bills to make child care more available and affordable during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Child Care Is Essential Act (H.R. 7027), sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), would provide $50 billion in child care block grants to states to help subsidize care for low-income families. The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 7327), sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), would provide $10 billion in grants to renovate child care facilities; $850 million to help care for children of “essential” workers; and an estimated $77 billion over a decade for child care funding administered by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The package would also provide about $91 billion over a decade in tax benefits, mostly for expanded child and dependent care credits. The Arc supports both bills.

House Committee to Hold Hearing on “Experiences of Vulnerable Populations During Disaster”

On July 28, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management will hold a hearing titled “Experiences of Vulnerable Populations During Disaster.” Witnesses will be Curtis Brown, State Coordinator of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, testifying on behalf of the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management; Chad Higdon, CEO, Second Harvest Community Food Bank; Marcie Roth, Executive Director and CEO, World Institute on Disability; and Diane Yentel, President and CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition. Visit the Committee website for more information or to view live video on the day of the hearing.

School Voucher Bill Introduced in Senate

On July 22, Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the School Choice Now Act (S. 4282). This bill would provide a federal tax credit for donations to organizations that provide scholarships for private schools. Additionally, the bill creates a one-time appropriation to scholarship-granting organizations. The Arc opposes this bill because schools accepting scholarships indirectly supported by the tax credit will not be required to follow the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or the accountability provisions under the Every Student Succeeds Act. See The Arc’s position statement on education, including school vouchers.