Appropriations Update: Keep Pushing for An IL Increase!
Last week the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS-ED) approved the FY 2018 L-HHS-ED spending bill. The full House Appropriations Committee will mark up the bill tomorrow, July 19.
The spending bill proposes level funding for the Independent Living Program, which amounts to a total of $101,183,000 ($78,305,000 in Part C funding and $22,878,000 in Part B funding). Thankfully, the bill does not include the President’s proposal to eliminate Part B funding and ‘consolidate’ it with the State Council on Developmental Disabilities funding and Traumatic Brain Injury funding, which would have resulted in a $57 million reduction in funds for people with disabilities.
Funding for the IL Program has hovered around these levels for years, and simply put, it is not enough to meet our needs. While we are happy that the IL program did not see any cuts in the House bill, level funding just does not cut it! For several years we have been asking Congress for a $200 million increase for the Independent Living line item. This number was determined after a careful analysis of the needs of the IL community, which includes the increasing demands on the IL Program, the addition of all three pieces of the fifth core service, and overcoming devastating cuts.
We still have time to fight for an increase in FY 2018 appropriations. We know there are a lot of other issues competing for attention, but IL funding must remain a priority! Please contact your Senators and Representatives! Only the IL community can ensure our legislators understand the importance of the IL Program and the critical need for increased funding. Members of Congress need to know that without adequate funding, their constituents will pay the price. CILs in their own states and districts will be unable to support their constituents with disabilities to live independently in their homes and communities. So, tell your members of Congress why the IL Program is vital for you! Refer to our talking points for guidance. And, please encourage them to visit CILs so they can see the work that’s done in their community every day!