Advocates are warning that a budget proposal currently being debated in Congress might cut or eliminate services on which many disabled Americans rely.
A bill to fund federal labor, health and human services, education, and associated programs for the fiscal year that begins in October was adopted last week by a House of Representatives panel. The Republican bill cuts $60.3 billion — or 29% — from these departments’ programs compared to this year’s spending levels.
While lawmakers who supported the idea stated that their legislation would continue funding for special education and other programs that serve individuals with disabilities, advocates say they are not pleased.
“Cuts of this magnitude will absolutely impact individuals with autism and other disabilities,” said Kim Musheno who is the vice president of public policy at Autism Society of America.
Musheno pointed out that many students with disabilities, for example, are included in general education classrooms, so monetary losses will be felt even if special education is spared. Furthermore, she pointed out that level funding is still a reduction when adjusted for inflation.
The plan comes less than two months after Republicans and Democrats agreed to cap domestic spending as part of a debt-ceiling pact. However, proponents argue that the amounts being pushed through by House Republicans are significantly lower than the levels specified in the bipartisan agreement.
Millions of disabled people nationwide rely on government funded programs to help them live in their communities. Cuts to these services would mean life would change in an instant for disabled Americans. Disabled people want to be a part of their communities. The government should not get rid of the services that make this possible.
Diament, Michelle. “Disability Advocates on Edge as House Republicans Eye Budget Cuts.” Disability Scoop, 20 July 2023, http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2023/07/20/disability-advocates-on-edge-as-house-republicans-eye-budget-cuts/30469/.