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

Urgent Action Needed to Ensure Full Funding of HCBS in Reconciliation Package!

Members of Congress have been hard at work preparing the budget reconciliation package. Negotiations are well underway, with language trickling out and more details expected in the coming days. Recently it has come to light that the proposal may contain only $190 billion in funding for home and community based services (HCBS). This is less than half the amount promised in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, and not nearly enough to meet the needs of disabled people across the country.

Millions of disabled people are stuck in institutional settings. Over 800,000 people are on waiting lists for HCBS – many who will wait years before receiving the supports and services they need. Congregate settings have been – and continue to be – hit hard by COVID-19. Investing in HCBS is critical to protecting disabled people and our direct support workers, and it is more urgent than ever.

Take action!

President Biden proposed a $400 billion investment in HCBS, and Congress introduced the Better Care Better Jobs Act (BCBJA) to put that proposal into action. We need to ensure the BCBJA and the full $400 billion get included in the budget reconciliation package! Our Members of Congress need to hear from us NOW as they wrap up negotiations and finalize the package.

Contact both your Senators and your Representative today! Tell them they MUST meet the needs of their disabled constituents and the direct care workforce by including the full $400 billion in the reconciliation package!

*Note: We need everyone to contact their Members of Congress. If your Representative is on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, it is especially critical that you call them today! The full list of Energy & Commerce Committee members can be found at energycommerce.house.gov/about-ec/membership.

More information – including how to contact them and a sample script – is below:

  • Call your Senators and Representative: 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’ phone numbers and websites at senate.gov and your Representative’s phone number and website at house.gov/representatives. If you don’t know who your Representative is, you can find out at house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.
  • You can Tweet your Senators and Representative at tweetcongress.org.
  • You can use Resistbot to turn texts into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters by texting “RESIST” to 50409.

SAMPLE SCRIPT (please feel free to personalize):

Hi, my name is [YOUR FULL NAME], and I’m from [CITY, STATE].

I am [calling / writing] to urge [Senator / Representative NAME] to support the Better Care Better Jobs Act, and to make sure the full $400 billion is included in the upcoming budget reconciliation package. The BCBJA would providing much-needed funding that is needed now more than ever, to improve access to home and community based services (HCBS) and strengthen and expand the HCBS workforce.

Many disabled people and older adults rely on HCBS to live in our homes and participate in our communities. Currently, states are not meeting the needs of their disabled residents, forcing many people to remain on years-long waiting lists and others to be institutionalized. As we have seen, people in these settings are at much higher risk of infection and death from COVID-19. In light of the disproportionate COVID infection and death rates, improving access to HCBS is more urgent than ever. The BCBJA, and the full $400 million funding, would provide the critical and long-overdue investment to make this happen.

Thank you for your time. I hope I can count on your support for your disabled constituents by supporting the Better Care Better Jobs Act in the reconciliation package.

(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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