STATEMENT ON WHITE HOUSE BUDGET PROPOSAL FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018
Contact: Donna Meltzer, Chief Executive Officer, NACDD; [email protected]
WASHINGTON, May 23, 2017 – The budget released today by the White House for Fiscal Year 2018 titled, A New Foundation for American Greatness does not even come close to living up to its title for persons with developmental disabilities. Since 1990, with the bipartisan passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the United States has been committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for persons with disabilities. “This budget falls far short of the promise of equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. People with disabilities want to live in their communities and be taxpayers,” said Donna Meltzer, Chief Executive Officer of NACDD. “This budget decimates the safety net of programs that millions of Americans depend upon in order to live equally in the community.” One of the most significant cuts in this budget proposal is to the Medicaid program, which is a lifeline for people with disabilities. “All budgets tell a story and this one tells a story about an America that is willing to leave people with disabilities behind,” said Meltzer.
The President’s Budget also proposes to combine the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities with the State Grants component of the Independent Living programs, and the State Implementation Partnership Grants component of the Traumatic Brain Injury program. This proposal would significantly reduce funding for all three programs. NACDD does not support this proposal as each of these programs has a distinct mission and responsibilities. “The proposal fails to account for the unique role for the DD Councils. The DD Councils serve a much bigger role than simply acting in an advisory capacity to the Governor and state legislature,” said Meltzer. The DD Councils are charged with ensuring authentic stakeholder engagement of persons with developmental disabilities who live in the community and they bring together all entities within the state to change systems in order for people with developmental disabilities to be fully included in all aspects of community life. “No other program has that level of authentic community engagement,” stated Meltzer.
NACDD will work in a bipartisan manner to ensure the continuation of the Councils on Developmental Disabilities. This program has worked well for more than 40 years and is not in need of restructuring.
NACDD serves as the national voice of the 56 state and territorial Councils on Developmental Disabilities. We support Councils in implementing the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act and promote the interests and rights of people with developmental disabilities and their families.