Capitol Correspondence - 04.13.20

After Failed Interim Bill, Congress Quarrels Over Content of Fourth COVID-19 Package

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Due to partisan disagreements, on Thursday the Senate failed to pass an interim measure which would have increased funding for emergency small business loans—and the gridlock is continuing this week.

As reported by Politico Pro: “The negotiations are complicated by Congress’s unusual posture amid the coronavirus pandemic, with lawmakers from both houses working from their home states and not scheduled to return to Washington until April 20. Both chambers have been operating in pro forma skeleton sessions, that allow only a single lawmaker to derail everything. Republican aides said conservatives will reject spending beyond the Paycheck Protection Program; the next Senate pro forma session is Thursday. The House is in Tuesday and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi [D-CA] continues to insist a small business-only bill would be quickly rejected in the House.” Speaker Pelosi further outlined her party’s priorities in a letter to her colleagues.

Note that congressional Democrats’ funding requests include a Heroes Fund that would increase health frontline workers’ salaries by an additional $13 dollars on top of their current wages as a form of hazard pay – this would include Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who support people with intellectual / developmental disabilities. While ANCOR’s primary advocacy focus during this crisis is obtaining funding specifically for Medicaid intellectual / developmental disability supports (I/DD) in any upcoming COVID-19 legislation, we have been involved in discussions surrounding the Heroes Fund. Discussions around the Fund complement but do not replace our primary asks in our action alert and our most recent coalition letter to Congress. We encourage you to take two minutes to use our action tools on behalf of disability supports. We will keep members of additional opportunities for advocacy as they arise.

Additional reading: Readers interested in disability provisions in the various legislative packages to date will find these slides from a Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) webinar instructive.