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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Contact your Senators Today about COVID-19 Relief!

Last week the Senate’s “skinny” COVID-19 relief package, the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act (PDF), failed to advance. This was considered their “skinny” package, because it is a scaled-back version of the HEALS Act that was introduced in July. You can read more about the HEALS Act in our previous alert.

The next two weeks are critical for passing real, comprehensive COVID-19 relief. If the Congress doesn’t reach an agreement this month, it will likely delay any significant relief until after the election, and possibly even until January. That is unacceptable.

Even if you’ve contacted your Senators already, they need to hear from us again today! They need to hear from their constituents how important it is that they work to pass real, comprehensive relief now. And, they need to hear how critical it is to address the disability community’s needs in this COVID-19 package. They need to hear about all our priorities, but especially about the need for funding for home and community based services (HCBS). You can see a full list of priorities in this letter from CCD (PDF), of which NCIL is a member. NCIL also worked with other disability organizations to highlight our most critical priorities (PDF).

TAKE ACTION: Contact your Senators to tell them to #GetBackToWork on a bill that addresses our needs. Remind that that #WhatWeNeed is #HCBS funding!

  • Call your Senators. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). Ask to be connected to your Senators.
  • You can find your Senators’ contact forms at senate.gov.
  • You can find your Senators’ direct phone numbers, Twitter handles, Facebook pages, and more on Contacting Congress.
  • You can use Resistbot to turn texts into faxes by texting “RESIST” to 50409.
  • Also consider contacting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. You can use the methods above or tweet at them. McConnell – @SenateMajLdr; Schumer – @SenSchumer.

A sample script is below. Please feel free to personalize.

Sample Script

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 to include funding for home and community based services. The need for dedicated HCBS funding is more urgent than ever. We have seen rampant rates of infection and death in nursing facilities and other 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 congregate settings. In these settings they will be at much greater risk of catching COVID-19. HCBS funding is desperately needed to ensure we can stay safe in our own homes. The Senate has not included funding for HCBS in either of your recent bills. It is critical that you include dedicated HCBS funding in the final package, and that a final package be passed right away.

I also ask that you oppose any provision that would shield businesses 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.

(Your name)

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL OR EMAILING: please leave your full street address and zip code. This will ensure your call or email is tallied]

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