ASAN is furious that, ten months into the pandemic, Congress has yet again failed to provide any emergency funding for the home and community-based services to keep people with disabilities out of dangerous congregate settings. While the just-passed COVID relief package includes funding for unemployment insurance, SNAP, and other important benefits to help people devastated by the pandemic, as well as funding to help states distribute the vaccine, it fails to respond to the crisis facing the disability community.
Additionally, we are horrified that this is the first deal to pass the Senate since the Spring. Our communities have needed help for months, and despite overwhelming advocacy, we were abandoned by our Senators. This relief package is a small step, and it cannot undo the immense damage that has already been done. When a new Congress is sworn in on January 3rd, it must immediately get to work on a new package with enough resources to fully meet our nation’s needs. That means funding for home and community-based services, and for Medicaid more generally. It means a permanent reauthorization of the Money Follows the Person program. It means real investments in housing, unemployment services, and SNAP, so that no one is hungry or homeless in a pandemic. It means expanding funding for inclusive paid leave and child care, and giving Tribal communities the resources they need to recover after being left behind. And it means big investments in vaccine distribution and public health, so we can end this pandemic for good and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
The disability community deserves a Congress that will fight for us and have our backs during a devastating pandemic. ASAN will not forget the months of inaction we have had to endure, or the thousands who have died due to the callous disregard of our elected officials. We will keep advocating for a real response to this crisis, and we will continue to work to address the underlying systemic issues that created this crisis.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to autism. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities. We work to empower autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community, and seek to organize the autistic community to ensure our voices are heard in the national conversation about us. Nothing About Us, Without Us!