ANCOR is sharing this New Tork Times op-ed by Tom Ridge, head of the National Organization on Disability, because of the President’s budget sends an important message about what the Trump Administration considers to be a priority. While the President’s proposal does not have the force of law because Congress has budgetary powers under the Constitution, the President’s budget also gives policy stakeholders an indication of what regulatory actions the Administration might attempt to take outside of Congress.
As shared in Tom Ridge’s op-ed:
“Last month’s proposal from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to cut millions of dollars in funding for Special Olympics caused a public uproar and a bipartisan backlash fierce enough to force President Trump to restore it days later. That reversal was welcome. But it was also incomplete. Most Americans do not know that the 2020 budget is still full of cuts that aim directly at many other programs that support people with disabilities.
The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget would make cuts across multiple agencies and offices that serve Americans with disabilities, stripping them of essential resources. Of particular urgency to me and many of my colleagues are the devastating impacts that the weakening of these agencies would have on job seekers with disabilities.
Independent living centers, assistive-technology programs, supports for individuals living with brain injuries and family caregiver support services are among those programs and services on the chopping block. So too is the Office of Disability Employment Policy. This office, within the Labor Department, is the only nonregulatory federal agency that promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities.
Combined, these cuts total in the tens of millions of dollars. Cutting funding to these critical programs — that turn tax consumers into taxpayers — is not only unjust but also fiscally foolish.
That’s especially true now, at a time when our nation is seeing historically low unemployment rates and employers need to find new sources for talent.
Work is one of the most important issues affecting the some 50 million Americans with disabilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2018 that roughly 30 percent of Americans ages 16 to 64 with a disability were employed, compared with nearly 75 percent of those without a disability. The unemployment rate for job seekers with disabilities is roughly 9 percent — more than double that of the nondisabled population.”