For Immediate Release: June 2, 2023
Contact: Jess Davidson at email@example.com or 970-631-6829
WASHINGTON, DC – Late on June 1, 2023, the U.S. Senate passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act, an agreement with the U.S. House to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default that would have devastated the economy nationally and globally. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) responded to the news with the following statement:
AAPD is pleased and relieved that Congress reached a deal and averted an economic disaster which would have had devastating ripple effects on every imaginable aspect of disabled Americans’ lives. High inflation and an increasing lack of COVID protections are already making day-to-day life dysfunctional for all Americans, but especially for disabled people.
AAPD President and CEO Maria Town said, “What is bad for our economy is often bad for the disability community. Roughly one in four of all people with disabilities live in poverty, and disabled people are twice as likely to experience poverty than their non-disabled peers. People with disabilities also experience extremely high rates of underemployment and unemployment. The U.S. economy seldom works for disabled Americans, a reality that was front and center as negotiations went on over the past few weeks.
Throughout negotiations to reach this agreement, Congress threatened disabled people’s stability and well-being in multiple ways. House Republicans proposed drastic cuts of over $109 billion to Medicaid, and proposed imposing work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Thanks to the diligence of so many advocates in Congress, the Biden Administration, and in our communities, Medicaid was saved and work requirements were denied, preserving Medicaid as-is for the more than 21 million people who depend on it to access healthcare.
Unfortunately, programs that provide necessary aid to low-income people, including many low-income people with disabilities, did not go unscathed. Expanded work requirements for the food benefits program SNAP were passed as part of this agreement. AAPD opposes all work requirements for any benefits programs: they are unnecessary and ableist tools that do nothing to prevent fraud nor to increase employment, but do a lot to deny otherwise-qualified individuals from receiving support they need to survive.
While we are relieved to know that Medicaid is safe, we should have never been in this position in the first place. Our leaders and legislators cannot continue to play politics with the American people. The additional work requirements for SNAP are beyond disappointing and harmful. AAPD urges Members of Congress to continue to work towards a healthy and thriving economy without limiting or threatening programs that so many in our nation rely on to survive.
Today, AAPD celebrates this incredible success. On Monday, we get back to work to build an economy and nation that works for all disabled people.”