Action Alert! Congress is on August Recess… We have work to do!
August 18, 2017
On August 3, 2017, both the Senate and House of Representatives began their month-long recess and will be back in their home states and districts until after Labor Day. This comes after months of fierce and successful advocacy by our community to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid. Once again, thank you for all of your hard work and continued advocacy!
However, we are not done fighting just yet. We must take advantage of this opportunity to meet and engage with our senators and representatives at home to protect Medicaid, other essential healthcare services, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While we’re fighting to protect the rights we have, we must also work on passing the Disability Integration Act (DIA) – an act to ensure millions of Americans with disabilities have access to the services they need to live in the community.
Healthcare and Medicaid
Even though recent attempts by the US Senate to repeal the ACA and cut Medicaid failed, there are still threats to the lives and liberty of people with disabilities. The Trump Administration’s budget proposal released in May calls for a 17% cut, or $877 billion reduction to Medicaid over 10 years. Today, Medicaid supports approximately 10 million non-elderly people with disabilities who will be adversely affected if Medicaid is cut or capped.
- Thank your Members of Congress if they opposed the recent healthcare repeal efforts and ask them to continue to fight to protect Medicaid.
- If your Members of Congress supported the recent healthcare repeal efforts remind them of the real and devastating impact their efforts would have on people with disabilities that lose healthcare.
- Use the August Recess Toolkit from Families USA to engage your Members of Congress through events and meetings, Twitter, and letters to the editor.
The Disability Integration Act of 2017
The Disability Integration Act (DIA) would complement the ADA, accelerate the rate of people with disabilities leaving institutions, and expand access to home- and community-based services. For more information, visit www.DisabilityIntegrationAct.org.
- If your Senators or Representative are not current so-sponsors of the DIA ask them to become a co-sponsor. (View a list of co-sponsors in the Senate | View a list of co-sponsors in the House)
- Sample Tweets:
- [insert handle of your Senator/Representative] please support the Disability Integration Act & the right for people w/ disabilities to live in their community! #DIAToday
- Sign-on your organization to support the DIA
- View AAPD’s Action Alert: The Disability Integration Act has been Introduced in the US Senate and House
The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (HR 620)
The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) would seriously weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by delaying requirements that businesses be accessible to people with disabilities. The proposed legislation requires a person with a disability to give businesses with accessibility barriers a written notice of the barrier, after which the business has 60 days to even acknowledge there is a problem, and then another 120 days to begin to fix it. No other civil rights group is forced to wait 180 days to enforce their civil rights! There are currently 21 Democratic and Republican representatives co-sponsoring this legislation.
- If your Representative is a current co-sponsor of the bill ask them to reconsider their support if they believe in equal rights and equal access for people with disabilities.
- If your Representative is not a current co-sponsor of the bill thank them for not signing-on and underscore why this bill weakens the ADA and threatens the rights of people with disabilities.
- Use talking points from AAPD’s Action Alert: Tell Congress Not to Weaken the ADA!
Engage your Members of Congress
Participate in town halls or other events
You can find public events for senators and representatives all across the country thanks to the Town Hall Project. Make sure that Medicaid, independence, and civil rights for people with disabilities are raised during these events. Sharing personal stories can be particularly impactful.
Call your Senators and Representatives
You can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senators or Representative. Contacting Congress also provides phone numbers for the DC and state offices of each Member.
Tweet your Senators and Representatives
Twitter has become a powerful political tool and is another way you can interact with your Members of Congress.
- Civic Engagement Toolbox For Self-Advocates – Autistic Self Advocacy Network
- How to Set up a Meeting with Your Member of Congress – Families USA