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What's Happening in Washington

    U.S. House Advances Easterseals-Supported Legislation; U.S. Senate Status Unclear

    Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved two significant pieces of legislation important to Easterseals. On June 19th, the U.S. House voted 226-203 to approve a major funding bill (H.R. 2740) for next year that includes strong investments for several Easterseals education, employment, and health-related priorities. Earlier in the week, the U.S. House also approved legislation (H.R. 3253) that included a multi-year extension of Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program, which helps states to rebalance their long-term care systems. Some Easterseals affiliates receive MFP funding to help transition individuals with disabilities and older adults from nursing home or other institutional care to home and community-based services.

    The future of both bills is unclear as the U.S. Senate has not acted on any of its funding bills for fiscal year 2020. Senate action is unlikely without a budget agreement between Congress and the President that would raise the funding caps for FY 2020. Easterseals has joined dozens of national organizations in support of raising the discretionary budget caps. The U.S. Senate has also expressed concerns with H.R. 3253, unrelated to MFP, Easterseals' top priority in the bill.

    Office of Public Affairs staff will continue to advocate and educate Congress on this important program.

    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.

    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, June 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.

    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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