Friday, November 7, 2008

What is Happening in DC?

During the presentation today on what is up in Washington DC, Paul Marchand Director of the Disability Policy Collaborative of The Arc and UCP Easter Seals covered the highlights of what has happened and what we might see happen.

So here we go: in the last six months the government has spent 2 trillion dollars on addressing the economic crisis.

So what is up in individual states? Well, thirty-nine states are facing a combined deficit of $40 billion dollars. Most of these states have constitutional amendments that require them to balance the budget. North Carolina is one of those states.

What is up with the federal deficit? Right now we are sitting at a federal deficit of seven trillion dollars.

So what do we think Congress is going to do next? Now that the election is over, there is a planned lame duck session that will begin in two weeks. The first thing on the agenda is to work to pass the second economic stimulus package.

What are we trying to get into this stimulus package to help our community? There will be a push to address the growing concerns in state regarding Medicaid. Lots of states are reporting that there are Medicaid services being cut, the focus of DPC’s lobbying efforts will be to work on how the Medicaid definition are written so that services can be restored.

What do we think we will be working on during the upcoming 111th Congress? Here is what President-Elect Obama will need to tackle right out of the gate. The first two major policy issue that the new administration will need to tackle is how to address the economic crisis and governmental spending. We are hearing more and more about the recession, are we in it or not in it.

So what will the 111th Congress look like? Right now the Senate has 55 Democrats, 2 Independents, 40 Republicans and three races that have not been called yet in Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota. The House will have 254 Democrats, 173 Republicans and six races that have yet to be decided.

What issues will we be discussing when the 111th Congress starts up in January? We will be looking at No Child Left Behind, Medicaid and Medicare, the DD Act, and many other issues that face people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Paul Marchand closed the session by reminding us that we need to get educated on the issues and take action. 

We at The Arc of North Carolina Policy Blog will be gearing up for both the 111th Congress and the 2009 North Carolina General Assembly by posting the issues and why they are important to you right here on the blog. We encourage you to ask questions and get involved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi: I am a volunteer. I am not yet 80 years old, and I had polio when I was age ten. So I haven't been able to walk for 68 years. With the help of various techno-logy and my family, I have done many things. Now, I am President of the NC Disability Action Network. We have about 1300 people on our E-mail or mailing list. We want to help with the fight to save our fair share of the Federal Budget. We want to be on a list to receive action alerts. For some of our people. we need to provide simple talking points to help them know what to say in E-mail messages. Many of our people do have access to E-mail. Please advise me when and how we can help. We are especially interested in pushing for faster implementation of the Olmstead Decision. Frances H Lowder, Concord, NC