Advocacy Alert: September 8, 2021


September 10, 2021 | by Amber Smock

ACTION TODAY: Fight for SSI, Home Services Investment in Historic Congressional Budget Package

Access Living friends and allies,

Right now, Congress is working on two major bill packages of unprecedented national significance, especially for many people with disabilities. Both packages are currently in the U.S. House and face major deal-making over the next week. Disability advocates, we need your advocacy today! Quick link to our email action link here. Read on for more details on the situation.

One bill package is known as the budget reconciliation bill, and aims to fund key pieces of the Build Back Better Agenda, a signature economic initiative from the White House. You can learn more about budget reconciliation here, and you can look here at how the U.S. House Committee on the Budget plans to work on budget reconciliation, and then send it to the Senate. The current package is $3.5 trillion dollars, which would be the largest spending package in U.S. history. The goal is to pay for it by changes to the tax code, including closing loopholes for large companies and the very wealthy.

One bill package is the infrastructure bill, also known as the INVEST in America Act. This is a $1.2 trillion package that was passed by the U.S. Senate a month ago. This is the bill that, among other things, includes key funding to make accessible more legacy rail stations run by public transit authorities, which is in line with several parts of the ASAP Act. In general, it aims to modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and to create jobs.

As the House juggles these two massive pieces of legislation, we want to ask your help to remind your U.S. House Reps to fight for two specific initiatives:

We need our U.S. House members to stay committed to investing $400 billion in home and community based services through the Better Care Better Jobs Act, which is one of the bills considered for inclusion in the budget reconciliation package. There are efforts to try to reduce this amount down to $150 billion; we need our members of Congress to fight for this investment! You can also follow to help keep up the fight for this important investment.

We also need our U.S. House members to fight to keep the provisions of the SSI Restoration Act in the budget reconciliation package. This is a historic set of reforms that would help update SSI closer to modern demands. Check out this fact sheet from Justice in Aging and this release from Senator Brown of Ohio. The goal is to raise SSI monthly benefits by 31%, increase the asset limit, update income rules for the first time since 1972, eliminate the marriage penalty, and more.

How can you help? Please take a moment to email your members of Congress to ask them to fight for the $400 billion in home and community based services, and to support the SSI Restoration Act, both as part of the budget reconciliation package. Use this quick link to send an email; we also urge you to make calls as well by calling the U.S. capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asking to be connected with your U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator. In this situation, call both. Here is a basic phone script:

“Hello, my name is __ and I am calling as your constituent to ask you to fight for the Better Care Better Jobs Act and the SSI Restoration Act as part of the budget reconciliation package. Please help defend these bills as originally introduced. Thank you.

Time is of the essence. Please take action today. Feel free to share this email with fellow advocates.