Capitol Insider
for the Week of October 31, 2011
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Action Alert
Calling all friends, neighbors and family members!
Protect the Medicaid Lifeline
 Major Events Last Week
Budget/Deficit Reduction – Democratic and Republican members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction develop widely differing proposals
As time runs out for negotiations, the Democratic and Republican Members of the joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction have reportedly developed substantially different proposals for addressing the federal deficit. Democrats proposed a “grand bargain”— as much as $3 trillion in spending cuts and new taxes on wealthier households. The Democratic Members’ plan, likely to face stiff opposition from many Congressional Democrats, contains substantially smaller revenue increases and much larger cuts to Medicaid and Medicare than previous bipartisan proposals. According to press reports, under their plan, Medicaid and Medicare together would be cut by $475 billion over the next decade, though details of the plan have not been released. When considered with the cuts to discretionary programs enacted in the Budget Control Act, the Democratic plan provides for a 6:1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases.
Republicans responded with a $2.2 trillion package of steep spending cuts but gave no ground on their resistance to including revenues. Republicans pushed instead for an overhaul of the corporate tax code that would lower tax rates in a way they believe would spur economic growth and generate higher revenue.
Democrats have been willing to put on the table cuts to the Medicare and Medicaid health entitlement programs, but only if Republicans will meet them partway and agree to rein in tax breaks for upper-income earners.  Republicans have consistently resisted new taxes, and most Republican lawmakers, including the 6 Republicans on the Joint Select Committee, have signed an anti-tax pledgefrom Americans for Tax Reform.
The 12-member committee of Republicans and Democrats is racing the clock to produce a compromise before its Thanksgiving deadline.  Failure to cut at least $1.2 trillion from deficits over the next 10 years would force mandatory cuts, split evenly between defense and nondefense spending, that both sides want to avoid.
Social Security – Hearing on Supplemental Security Income benefits for children
On October 27th, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources, held a hearing on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for children. The hearing looked at trends, program growth, and recipient outcomes in the SSI program for children.  The Arc strongly supports SSI benefits for children and was pleased that a family from The Arc of Kentucky, Katie Bentley and her son Will, were able to attend the hearing and were asked questions during the hearing.  Visit the Committee web site for the hearing announcementand to view hearing video, once it is available.
Family Support – Lifespan Respite Reauthorization bill introduced in House
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced the Lifespan Respite Reauthorization Act (HR 3266).  This bill reauthorizes the Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006, which aims to improve the delivery and quality of respite care services available to families across all age and disability groups by establishing coordinated lifespan respite systems.  H.R. 3266 would continue these efforts and provide for increased funding authorization levels.  To date, the Lifespan Respite Act of 2006 has funded thirty state grants to identify and coordinate respite services available through various state agencies, build respite capacity by recruiting and training respite workers, and raise awareness about respite through public education campaigns.  Learn more at the AoA website.

Major Events Ahead
Budget/Deficit Reduction – Joint Select Committee to hold a hearing titled “Overview of Previous Debt Proposals.”
This hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, November 1, will include testimony from former Senators Alan Simpson (R-WY) and Erskine Bowles (D-NC), Co-Chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reformand former Senator Pete Domenici (D-NM) and Dr. Alice Rivlin, Co-Chairs of the Debt Reduction Task Force. For a brief comparison of their plans and other deficit reduction plans, including how they would affect Medicaid funding, see the CRFB website. The hearing will be broadcast live at 1:00 p.m. on the Committee’s website at  


Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)