The conference committee working to reconcile the House and Senate tax bills is close to an agreement, and we expect to see a conference report tomorrow. Both the Senate and the House will likely vote shortly after, with a Senate vote expected as soon as Monday or Tuesday and a House vote Tuesday or Wednesday. This schedule may change slightly, but either way this is our last chance to fight this dangerous bill. And even though the GOP may seem to have the advantage, this is NOT a done deal. We must keep our efforts up!
Take Action Now!
Our Senators and Representatives are feeling the pressure, and some have hinted that they may not be on board. We need to keep pushing and making sure they hear from their constituents! Tell your members of Congress that their tax bill will hurt people with disabilities and cut the revenue needed to pay for programs we rely on. Tell them that tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations shouldn’t be paid for by jeopardizing the programs their disabled constituents need!
- Participate in Monday’s National Call-In Day! Find more information at the Facebook event. RSVP and share widely with your networks!
- Call your Senators and Representatives DAILY and tell them to vote NO! Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). Find their direct numbers and local office numbers at Contacting Congress.
- Use Resistbot to turn texts into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters.
- Fax your members of Congress (use faxzero.com to find their fax number).
- Email, post on Facebook, or Tweet with information on Contacting Congress. Join in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #TaxOnDisability.
It is important to reach out to all of our members of Congress about this issue! That said, the Senate will be voting first and is likely our best bet for stopping the bill, so we have included below a short list of priority Senators.
Even though conference report is not out, there are some details we already know. Some of the many controversial provisions in the House bill will not be in the final bill, including the elimination of the medical expense deduction, private activity bonds, and the student loan interest deduction. However, the bill will include the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which will result in 13 million people losing their insurance and skyrocketing premiums for everyone else. Additionally, the bill will add over $1 trillion to the deficit, which will have a direct impact on the amount of funding available for programs that are essential to us. The deficit increase will also trigger the PAYGO rule, which will force billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare, Vocational Rehabilitation, and many other programs if Congress doesn’t take additional action. Moreover, we recently learned that the ABLE to Work Act was added to the tax bill as an amendment. This is a concerning bill that was hastily introduced under the guise of helping people contribute more to their ABLE accounts, but in reality the bill may actually increase the likelihood of an ABLE account holder losing their benefits. See this CCD co-chairs letter - PDF for more information.
The GOP tax bill is dangerous for our community. Please take action today and participate in Monday’s Call-In Day!
- Collins (Maine): 202-224-2523; 207-780-3575
- Corker (Tennessee): 202-224-3344; 901-683-1910
- Flake (Arizona): 202-224-4521; 602-840-1891
- Rubio (Florida): 202-224-3041; 850-599-9100
- Heller (Nevada): 202-224-6244; 775-686-5770
Yesterday Senators Portman (R-OH) and Cantwell (D-WA) introduced a bill to reauthorize the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration program. The bipartisan legislation, titled the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care Act (the EMPOWER Care Act), would extend the MFP demonstration program through 2022.
MFP was designed to help states transition people with disabilities from institutions into the community, and to assist states in rebalancing their long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems to increase access to home and community based services (HCBS). Since it began, 47 states have participated and over 75,000 disabled people have been liberated from institutions, and Centers for Independent Living (CILs) have played a critical role in that.
However, the program expired on September 30, 2016. While States can still use remaining grant funds through 2020, with no reauthorization or additional funding on the horizon, programs are being scaled back and will eventually end. In fact, the program expired last year and we already saw the number of new transitions decline. Reauthorizing MFP will provide additional funding for transitioning people with disabilities into the community, and it will continue incentivizing states to prioritize home and community based services.
Take Action - Sign the Letter of Support!
The introduction of this legislation is wholly due to the ongoing advocacy of the disability community, and it is a big achievement! We will continue to keep you updated on any progress or other advocacy opportunities related this bill. But for now, we need to show the Independent Living community’s strong support for this bipartisan effort!
CILs, SILCs, and other organizations, please sign on to the letter of support.
Signatures are due by 12:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday, December 18, 2017.
On this episode of "Resource Central," Joe Reinecker and Andy Rausch talk to Mary Reynolds, the Director of Independent Living and Quality Assurance at SKIL. She talks about the new Grassroots Advocates for Independent Living group, which seeks to advocate for, and also teach disabled individuals how to advocate for themselves.
How will the Trump tax plan affect you?
On this episode of "Resource Central," host Joe Reinecker talks to Lou Ann Kibbee about the impending Republican tax plan and how it would affect SKIL and its customers. Kibbee is the Systems Advocacy Manager at SKIL.
The Southwest ADA Center is carrying out research into the use of service animals and other assistance animals by people with disabilities in public settings. As part of this research, we are asking people, age 18 and up, who use these animals across the country to fill in the attached survey.
This is a final push for public feedback as we are closing the survey on December 15th, 2017.
The information gathered from it will help us 1) understand what access issues people are having with their animals; and 2) to develop and improve the information, support, and guidance needed for the community to improve access for users of assistance animals. These findings will also improve the trainings and technical assistance that the Southwest ADA Center can provide to the public on this topic.
Whether you use a service animal or other type of assistance animal, we would like to hear from you. After the first question which confirms your eligibility for this survey, you can skip any question you prefer not to answer. The questionnaire will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.