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Capitol Correspondence - 02.15.19

Congressional Deal Averts Second Shutdown, Avoiding Harm to People with Disabilities

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Congress wrapped up Valentine’s Day on Thursday, February 14 by passing a funding deal for the 25 percent of the federal government that had been at risk of a second shutdown since December 2018. While most of the media attention during the shutdown focused on homeland security agencies, the  shutdown affected people with disabilities as well. It did so primarily by putting non-Medicaid programs essential to the well-being of people with disabilities, such as food stamps and housing assistance, at risk of running out of funds before the end of the shutdown. Medicaid and the disability supports it funds were insulated from the shutdown because the program was funded in a deal passed before the election. The deal passed on Thursday ensures stability in agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (USDA, which funds food stamps) for the rest of fiscal year 2019 – though it leaves the question of the people with disabilities in the Ability One program unresolved at this time since providing backpay to federal contractors was not agreed upon during the negotiations.

The passage of this deal secures all outstanding government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2019 and frees up Congressional bandwidth, allowing offices to turn their attention to other priorities. This makes it a good time for ANCOR members to reach out to their Congressional offices to touch base on I/DD priorities – reach out to Sarah Meek, ANCOR’s Director of Legislative Affairs, at [email protected] if you have any questions about key issues in the 116th Congress.