On December 21, both chambers passed H.R.133, a COVID relief and omnibus appropriations deal. The deal includes $1.4 trillion to fund the federal government through the end of fiscal year 2021 and $900 billion for COVID relief. President Trump signed the bill on December 27.
While the bill extends the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) eviction moratorium through the end of January 2021, it unfortunately takes minimal action on The Arc’s key priorities:
• Dedicated funding for Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) to serve people with disabilities in their homes and communities and provide better wages and support for the DSP workforce was not included.
• Personal protective equipment (PPE) for direct support professionals through designation as essential workers was not included.
• Paid leave and sick days for all caregivers, which was not included in the emergency paid leave provisions. The legislation extended tax credits available for business to cover paid leave but eliminated rules about when business must provide leave and did not extend the tax credits to cover all caregivers as the pandemic continues.
• Economic impact payments for all people with disabilities. While the bill does include a one-time $600 payment per adult and child under the age of 17, it does not include any payment for dependents who are over the age of 17. This excludes many adults with disabilities who are claimed as dependents.
The bill also funds the federal government through September 30, the end of fiscal year 2021. Most of The Arc’s priority programs received level funding or small increases. Programs receiving significant increases include Lifespan Respite Care Act (16.4%), Special Olympics Education Programs (17.9%), and Postsecondary Programs for Students With Intellectual Disabilities (10.2%).