CRITICAL ACTION ALERT FROM THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON INDEPENDENT LIVING
Contact Congress Today about COVID-19 Relief!
Congress is once again attempting to find some way to pass much-needed COVID-19 relief. Last week, a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives unveiled a $908 Billion package for a COVID-19 compromise proposal. Read the overview of that plan (PDF). Shortly after, Senator McConnell announced his own plan. Negotiations between both parties and chambers are ongoing, but importantly, neither of the proposals so far addresses the needs of the disability community.
Our Members of Congress need to hear from us again. They need to hear how critical it is to address the needs of their disabled constituents in this COVID-19 package. In particular:
- They need to include targeted funding for home and community based services (HCBS) to keep people out of congregate settings where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly;
- An FMAP increase to ensure Medicaid and state government can meet the needs of their residents;
- Permanent reauthorization and funding for the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program to help get people out of dangerous congregate settings where COVID-19 is rampant.
- They also must NOT include the dangerous liability shield included in the Senate’s HEALS Act that would protect businesses (including schools, medical providers, and more) from being held responsible for harm they cause in almost all circumstances. You can see a longer list of priorities in this letter from CCD (PDF), of which NCIL is a member.
TAKE ACTION: Contact your Members of Congress to tell them we need a COVID-19 relief bill, and we need it to address the needs of the disability community!
Call your Members of Congress.
- Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). Ask to be connected to your Senators or Representative.
- You can find your Senators’ contact forms at senate.gov and your Representative’s contact form at house.gov/representatives.
- You can find your Members’ phone numbers, Twitter handles, Facebook pages, and other contact information on Contacting Congress.
- You can use Resistbot to turn texts into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters by texting “RESIST” to 50409.
- You can also tweet at Congressional leadership – Mitch McConnell (@SenateMajLdr), Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer), Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi), and Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader).
A sample script is below – please feel free to personalize.
Hi, my name is (NAME), and I’m from (CITY, STATE).
I am (calling / writing) to urge you to pass a comprehensive COVID-19 relief bill right away, and because it is critical that you to include the needs of disabled people in this package.
Any additional relief must include dedicated funding for home and community based services. We have seen rampant rates of infection and death in congregate settings. Many disabled people rely on HCBS to live in their own homes, but people are struggling to stay there. Without more funding, many more people will be forced into nursing homes and other congregate settings, where they will be at much greater risk of catching COVID-19. The need for dedicated HCBS funding is more urgent than ever.
On that note, the upcoming spending bill must also include a long-term extension of the Money Follows the Person program. MFP has helped over 91,000 disabled people transition from congregate settings back to the community, but several states have already had to slow or end their programs. We need MFP to be permanently reauthorized and funded to get people out of these settings where COVID is rampant and into the community.
I also ask that you oppose any provision that would shield businesses (including non-profits, schools, and medical providers) from liability for harm they cause during the pandemic. This is a very dangerous provision. It threatens the rights and safety of all people, and especially disabled people.
Thank you for your time. I hope I can count on you to protect your disabled constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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