Last week, the President released his budget proposal for FY 2019 (PDF). Unsurprisingly, the budget proposes steep cuts to the programs people with disabilities rely on, including the Independent Living Program!
First and foremost, the budget proposes cutting the Independent Living line item by $5 million, to a total of $96 million. While the Health and Human Service (HHS) budget document presents this as a $4 million cut, this proposal was drafted before the recent budget agreement. Congress has yet to enact a full-year appropriations bill for 2018, so based on the most recently enacted spending levels (FY 2017), this budget proposes a $5 million cut.
Additionally, despite the fact that the President has repeatedly promised not to cut Social Security, the proposed budget would cut over $83 billion over the next 10 years, which includes at least $70 billion to disability programs. Additionally, the budget proposes repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with legislation similar to last year’s Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal, which would eliminate many of the most important provisions of the ACA and slash Medicaid funding through cuts and caps. In addition to the cuts due to Medicaid restructuring, the budget proposes additional cuts to Medicaid totaling $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. Medicaid is critical in supporting individuals who live in their community in their homes versus an institution, including nursing homes.
While this budget is terrible, Congress will likely not include many of these proposals in their appropriations bills. Additionally, earlier this month Congress passed a two-year budget deal that raised the spending caps on defense and nondefense discretionary (NDD) funding for FY 2018 (by $63 billion) and FY 2019 (by $68 billion), which will allow for higher spending levels.
Make sure to talk with your Senators and Representative and urge them not accept Trump’s cuts to Independent Living, even though Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) recently voted against disability civil rights. Talk to your Senators and Representatives about the value of Independent Living. Have them visit your local CIL! And make sure they know how important the programs we rely on, like SSDI and Medicaid, are to their disabled constituents, because more changes are on the way. Take action today!
John Hoven (R-ND) – 202-224-2551
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) – 202-224-2043
Kevin Cramer (R-ND) – 202-225-2611
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) – 202-224-3244
Tina Smith (D-MN) – 202-224-5641
Collin Peterson (D-MN) – 202-225-1593
[image description: a logo that has NCIL with the words National Council on Independent Living]