Act Immediately: Ask Congress to Retain IL Funding in the Economic Recovery Conference Report!
Background: Centers for Independent Living received funding in both the House and Senate versions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but the Senate is currently attempting to strip all funding not related to immediate employment and infrastructure projects.
Senate Democratic leaders conceded they do not have the votes to pass the stimulus bill as currently written and said that to gain bipartisan support they will seek to cut provisions that would not provide an immediate boost to the economy.
Update: There is a group of Senators that are seriously talking about cutting the VR appropriation in the Stimulus Bill which INCLUDES the IL funding. They have not done any cuts yet, but there is a very strong possibility that they will cut Independent Living funding!
The Senate is busy cutting programs from the bill today and should vote on the bill today or tomorrow! Democratic leaders still want the measure ready for President Obama's signature before February 16.
Senators: Here are the Senators we need to target IMMEDIATELY to change their minds.
(North Dakota), Landreiu
(New Hampshire), Tester
(New Mexico), Warner
You must communicate the following to your Senators in order to secure this funding:
- CILs need employees. They can make immediate hires. Centers work with people with disabilities to help them become employed, and provide the support needed so that people are job ready and can find good jobs that are sustainable.
- Centers help people to remain independent in their own homes and communities, and help prevent people from being institutionalized. From 2004-2006 CILs transitioned over 8,000 people from nursing homes and institutions into the community, saving state and federal government well over $160 million. Centers help ease the financial burden that states have to bear on institutional expenses by keeping people OUT of institutions.
- Ask them to keep the funding for the Independent Living Program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Ask for the legislative aide handling the Economic Recovery package and tell them about your state and the services CILs provide.
Both the House and Senate will have to go to conference to reconcile the differences between the two bills. Call your Representative and Senators to ensure members who may be in the Conference Committee understand the importance of Independent Living! Text of the bills is available at http://thomas.loc.gov/.
For more information: Contact NCIL Policy Analyst Elizabeth Leef by email, Elizabeth@ncil.org, phone: (202) 207-0334, ext 1015 or fax: (202) 207-0341.