New COVID-19 Relief Package: Contact your Senators Today!
The Senate has introduced another COVID-19 relief package called the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act (PDF). This is considered their “skinny” package, because it is a scaled-back version of the HEALS Act that was introduced in July. You can read more about the HEALS Act in our previous alert. Like the HEALS Act, this new package does not meet the needs of the disability community. It also includes the same dangerous liability shield. This is the piece that would undermine the Americans with Disabilities Act and give businesses immunity for harm they cause in almost all circumstances.
The Senate voted and failed to advance their bill today, by a vote of 52-47. Our Senators need to hear from us again now! They need to hear about the importance of addressing the disability community’s needs in their COVID-19 response. They need to hear about all of our priorities, but especially about the need for funding for home and community based services (HCBS). You can see a full list of priorities in this letter from CCD (PDF), of which NCIL is a member. NCIL also worked with other disability organizations to highlight our most critical priorities (PDF).
TAKE ACTION: Contact your Senators to tell them to #GetBackToWork on a bill that addresses the our needs. Remind that that #WhatWeNeed is #HCBS funding!
Call your Senators. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). Ask to be connected to your Senators.
You can find your Senators’ contact forms at senate.gov.
You can find your Senators’ direct phone numbers, Twitter handles, Facebook pages, and more on Contacting Congress.
You can use Resistbot to turn texts into faxes by texting “RESIST” to 50409.
Also consider contacting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. You can use the methods above or tweet at them. McConnell - @SenateMajLdr; Schumer - @SenSchumer.
A sample script is below. Please feel free to personalize.
Hi, my name is (NAME), and I’m from (CITY, STATE).
I am (calling / writing) to urge you to include funding for home and community based services in the COVID-19 relief bill. The need for dedicated HCBS funding is more urgent than ever. We have seen rampant rates of infection and death in nursing facilities and other congregate settings. Many disabled people rely on HCBS to live in their own homes, but people are struggling to stay there. Without more funding, many more people will be forced into congregate settings. In these settings they will be at much greater risk of catching COVID-19. HCBS funding is desperately needed to ensure we can stay safe in our own homes. The Senate has not included funding for HCBS in either of your recent bills. It is critical that you include dedicated HCBS funding in the final package.
I also ask that you oppose the provision that would shield businesses from liability for harm they cause related to COVID-19. This is a very dangerous provision. It threatens the rights and safety of all people, and especially disabled people.
Thank you for your time. I hope I can count on you to protect your disabled constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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