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What's Happening in Washington

    Help At-Risk Veterans Find Employment and Stable Housing

    An effort is underway in the U.S. House of Representatives in support of the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP), the only national program that helps homeless and at-risk veterans develop the skills and training they need to find employment and secure housing. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) program has been a key tool in helping to reduce veteran homelessness by nearly 50 percent since 2010.

    Representatives Kathleen Rice of New York and Greg Walden of Oregon are seeking support in the U.S. House of Representatives to robustly fund HVRP in fiscal year 2020.

    Ask Your Members of Congress to Support the Easterseals 100th Anniversary Congressional Resolution

    UPDATE: On April 11th, the United States Senate approved the bipartisan congressional resolution recognizing Easterseals on its 100th Anniversary and highlighting Easterseals' century of impact in the lives of people with disabilities, veterans, older adults, caregivers, and their families. We are humbled by the Senate's action on Senate Resolution 85 and are grateful for the support and action of Easterseals supporters like you. We especially want to recognize U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman of Ohio for leading this effort and to all the original sponsors.

    H. Res. 100, which was introduced by U.S. Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9) and David Joyce (R-OH-14), still needs your support! If your Members of Congress have already sponsored the resolution, you can thank them for their support.

    Support Community Services for People with Disabilities by Extending the Money Follows the Person Program 

    The Medicaid Money Follows the Person (MFP) program makes it possible for individuals with disabilities and seniors to receive their long-term supports in the setting of their choice, for example, in their home rather than in a nursing home. Since the program was created by President George W. Bush, more than 75,000 people with disabilities and seniors have received MFP transition and other services to help support their move back home.

    Congress and the President acted quickly in January to approve a short-term extension, with limited funds, to keep the MFP program going. The program needs a long-term extension before MFP funds run out.

    Bipartisan legislation was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1342) and U.S. Senate (S. 548) to extend the program through 2023.

    Easterseals Federal Program Investments Signed into Law

    On September 28th, President Trump signed into law a fiscal year 2019 funding bill that included significant investments for Easterseals-operated federal programs, including the Senior Community Service Employment Program ($400 million), Early Intervention Grants for Infants and Families ($470 million), Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities ($391 million), Head Start and Early Head Start ($10.063 billion), Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program ($50 million), and the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grant Program ($3.521 billion).

    Easterseals Office of Public Affairs has updated its federal program funding chart to reflect these new investments (PDF). In addition, H.R. 6157 included a short-term funding extension through December 7th of federal departments and programs not completed by the start of the fiscal year. The legislation was overwhelmingly approved in the U.S. Senate on September 18th and the U.S. House of Representatives on September 26th.

    Read and share these stories from Medicaid enrollees 

    One of every seven Medicaid enrollees is a person with a disability, and now Congress is considering health care proposals that restrict access to critical Medicaid services.

    Read more than 100 stories we've collected from parents of children with disabilities and from adults and seniors with disabilities in the Easterseals family who depend on Medicaid for their health, independence and well-being. Join more than 2,000 people who have already voiced their concern by signing our petition. 

    Current Legislative Alerts: Take Action!

    Each day, decisions are being made in Washington, D.C., that will affect people with disabilities and Easterseals' ability to provide services to them, as well as to meet Easterseals' mission today and for years to come. The unmet needs of people with disabilities will continue to go unaddressed if Easterseals is not engaged in educating public policy makers about people with disabilities' disproportionate reliance on government for health, education, employment, transportation and other needed services. Sign up to receive Easterseals advocacy alerts.

    Funding History of Federal Disability Programs, March 2019 (PDF*)

    This chart, developed by Easterseals Office of Public Affairs, tracks the funding history of federal disability programs. The chart divides the information by agency, listing underneath each agency specific programs that matter to children and adults with disabilities.

    Easterseals Principles on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform (PDF*)

    Easterseals supports a rigorous debate on policies and strategies to grow the economy, improve our nation’s fiscal health, and strengthen and protect social programs for our country’s most vulnerable populations. Proposals related to the federal budget, tax reform, deficit reduction, and strategic investments may have a direct impact on the lives of children and adults with disabilities. Easterseals policy decisions on fiscal policy and tax reform will be based on Easterseals Principles on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform as approved by the Easterseals Board of Directors on October 20, 2017.

    Public Policy Priorities for the 115th Congress (2017-2018)

    People with disabilities and Easterseals have a significant stake in government programs. For many children and adults with disabilities, their ability to get an education, earn a living and live independently in the community is dictated by the availability of services and supports, many of which come only from the federal government.

    Legislative Landmarks

    Easterseals has been active in public policy advocacy since our founder, Edgar Allen, lobbied the Ohio Legislature to fund appropriate services for children with disabilities in the 1920s. We continue to actively support and promote federal legislation that helps people with disabilities achieve independence.

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