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Collapse of ‘Super Committee’ Could Trigger Major Cuts to Disability, Autism Programs

November 23, 2011 2 comments

The collapse this week of the Congressional “Supercommittee” to come up with a deficit reduction plan could lead to automatic cuts in the federal budget totaling at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Unless Congress acts, the cuts will begin to take effect in January 2013.  Medicaid and Social Security will not be cut, but autism activities at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration could be cut by as much as 9.3 percent.

Autism Speaks is a member of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, which released the following statement on the deadlock of the Super Committee from Donna Meltzer, CCD Board Chair:

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations, shares its disappointment today that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has failed to come up with a deficit reduction package that addresses the nation’s debt in a manner that is balanced and fair.  While the CCD is very pleased that members of the Super Committee worked to protect entitlement programs that are critically necessary for people with disabilities such as Medicaid and Social Security, the failure to complete a comprehensive package leaves consortium member organizations very concerned about how sequestration will impact the nation’s 54 million Americans who live with disabilities and their families.

CCD knows that people with disabilities and their families depend on a safety net of programs that include both entitlement and discretionary spending.  Because the Committee was unable to enact a thoughtful, balanced and collaboratively developed deficit reduction package, we now face devastating mandatory cuts to many critical programs serving people with disabilities in sequestration. The nation’s budget cannot be balanced on the backs of those with disabilities and chronic health conditions.

A new report released this month by the Census Bureau shows that 49.1 million Americans are poor.  People with developmental and other disabilities, who continue to face the highest unemployment rates, are overrepresented in that number.   Especially in times of a weak economy and high unemployment rates, programs that support people with disabilities – such as supported employment, family supports, food stamps, Medicaid and other community based supports and services – must continue and be protected from across-the-board budget cuts.

CCD urges the Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to enact balanced reforms while investing in its most valued resource – the American people.

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities is a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations working together to advocate for national public policy that ensures the self-determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society.

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