Statement for the June 9, 2020 Senate Finance Committee hearing entitled “Unemployment Insurance During COVID-19: The CARES Act and the Role of Unemployment Insurance During the Pandemic” from Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America.
LSA Advocacy and Public Policy News
Last night, Republican leaders in the US House of Representatives unveiled legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In addition to making substantial changes to the health law, the proposal would drastically cut and fundamentally restructure the Medicaid program by converting it to a per capita cap, effectively shrinking federal Medicaid funding over time and putting those LSA members serve and support in danger of losing coverage and access to care. This radical restructuring would shift substantial costs and risks to states, ultimately forcing them to cut benefits, restrict eligibility and reduce provider payments.
Lutheran Services in America Disability Network (LSA-DN) together with the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), Autism Speaks, the Autism Society, and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) are proud to announce the introduction of the Disability Community Act (H.R. 5902) in the United States Congress. On July 14, 2016, Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) led the introduction of this bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives with Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH). The bill is also supported by the leaders of the Congressional Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI).
On Monday and Tuesday, June 13-14, 10 members of LSA-DN's Policy & Advocacy Team (PAT) held several meetings on Capitol Hill with key Congressional offices. PAT strategized with Karen Summar in Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-IA) office on furthering the Transition to Independence Act to increase integrated employment for people with disabilities. We then met with David Hoppe, Chief of Staff for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Ted McCann, Policy Advisor to the Speaker, on the recently released GOP Poverty Plan, its possible impact on people with disabilities, and future partnership opportunities with the network and the Speaker.
On April 19, President Obama signed S. 192 into law, reauthorizing the Older Americans Act (OAA) through 2018. LSA has strongly supported S. 192 since it was introduced at the beginning of the 114th Congress. The new law, which protects core OAA programs and makes modest changes to the Act, is the culmination of over five years of legislative negotiations, bipartisan compromises, and stakeholder advocacy.
On March 21, the US House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA). The legislation slightly amends the OAA reauthorization measure (S. 192) adopted by the Senate last July. The two chambers must now reconcile the discrepancies between their bills, which could be achieved by Senate endorsement of the House-passed version. As a result of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral negotiations, the Senate appears poised to do so as early as next month. LSA applauds the House’s approval of this critical legislation, and we look forward to working with the Senate to ensure the final bill is signed into law this year. Stay tuned to hear more about OAA reauthorization and LSA's position.
Over 40 individuals representing 17 LSA-DN member organizations met this week in Carefree, AZ for the 2016 Winter Meeting. Attendees focused on addressing the huge issues of DSP recruitment and retention. Using real data from their organizations, Amy Hewitt from the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration walked us through what the data says about DSP staffing challenges, what we are currently doing well, and what could be done better.
LSA and a number of charitable organizations from around the country joined together on December 18 with Independent Sector to thank Congress for the bipartisan passage of the PATH Act of 2015 (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes).
On November 2, President Obama signed into law a two-year budget and debt ceiling agreement, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA, 114-74). The measure lifts the federal borrowing limit – also known as the debt ceiling – through March 2017, and provides a framework for federal spending in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The deal includes $80 billion in sequestration relief, split evenly between defense and nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs – a major win for NDD advocates like Lutheran Services in America (LSA). The legislation also addresses a looming increase in Medicare Part B premiums, and makes legislative changes to extend the solvency of the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund. To comply with parliamentary requirements, the deal also includes program and policy changes to offset the cost of these sequester and health care provisions.
Lutheran Services in America Disability Network (LSA-DN) is pleased to welcome Timothy Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics, to speak at the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC) fall meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 26.