As many of you know, President Trump released his “skinny budget” (PDF) last week. This budget is a very simple and only partial overview that proposes billions of dollars in spending cuts to non-defense discretionary funding in order to pay for increases in military and homeland security spending.
The proposal includes cuts to many important departments and programs, including eliminating funding for the Community Development Block Grant program, eliminating the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program, and slashing the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) funding by $6.2 billion. Read NCIL’s recent alert about Housing Cuts. The budget did not address funding for the Independent Living Program or for the Administration for Community Living (ACL).
The proposed cuts in the budget are drastic and would be incredibly destructive to many of the programs that people with disabilities rely on. That said, the President’s budget request is only the first step in the federal budget process. It’s the U.S. Congress that will determine the country’s spending levels, and there has already been criticism of President Trump’s budget on both sides of the aisle.
Right now, our focus needs to be on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and the relevant subcommittees. The government is currently being funding by a Continuing Resolution (CR), which provides funding through April 28, 2017. Before they begin to work on FY 2018 funding, Congress will need to fund the remainder of FY 2017 to avoid a shutdown. We will be following this and FY 2018 funding as these processes unfold, and as always, we will keep you updated.
There is more at stake than ever right now, and we will need to work together to ensure that none of President Trump’s proposed cuts are implemented, and that the Independent Living Program does not see any future cuts. Please help us make sure that Congress knows how important IL is to their constituents around the country by inviting your Senators and Representatives to visit your local Center for Independent Living. It’s our hope that seeing the work the Independent Living community is doing every day will help our members of Congress understand the vital need for additional funding and the incredible value of the IL Program!