Ask Congress to End the Government Shut Down
Major Events Last Week
Budget & Appropriations – Partial Government Shut Down Takes Effect on October 1
The Federal Government was shut down last week after Congress failed to pass a spending bill for Fiscal Year 2014 by the deadline of Sept 30. Some agencies and personnel were not affected because their services are exempt from the shutdown, such as positions affecting health care delivery or security. The Senate and House were unable to reach consensus, primarily due to a proposed change to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The House had earlier passed a $986 billion annualized spending level (the amount that reflects the automatic, across the board spending cuts enacted earlier this year), proposed in a short term spending plan through December 15, that included the ACA delay. The Senate then rejected the ACA amendments and sent a “clean” stopgap spending plan to the House. The House then passed another spending plan that contained other ACA related changes and the Senate again rejected the ACA amendments and sent back to the House a bill to maintain funding without the ACA changes. After the measure failed to move forward, the shutdown took effect and 800,000 federal workers have since been furloughed. Meanwhile, the House has passed a number of bills to fund specific agencies. The Senate is refusing to consider the piecemeal approach, arguing that the government should reopen as a whole. Learn about how the shutdown is affecting each federal agency at the White House website.
Health Care – Affordable Care Act Enrollment Begins
Last week, the health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) opened for business. October 1 was the first day to sign up and enroll. The open enrollment period ends March 31, and for those who sign up in time coverage begins on January 1, 2014. There have been problems with long waits and error messages when trying to enroll online. Reports indicate that millions of people tried to access information on the healthcare.gov website but enrollment numbers are not yet available. To fix the problems with access, the Administration is working to expand the capacity of the system. To find more information about the ACA visit www.healthcare.gov or if you need assistance call the ACA consumer hotline 1-800-319-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) anytime.
Major Events Ahead
Budget & Appropriations – Measures for Ending Government Shutdown and Increasing Debt Ceiling Expected to be Combined
While neither side is indicating any room for negotiation, it is being widely reported that a Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations bill and the debt ceiling increase will be taken up together. The anticipated show down is expected to intensify in the days leading up to October 17, the date when the U.S. is projected to begin defaulting on its debts. Many economists believe it could set in motion events that would have a devastating impact on the economy as interest rates soar, stock values plummet, and employers stop hiring. Congressional Democrats and President Obama are sticking with their vow to not negotiate other funding and tax issues as part of any proposal to raise the debt ceiling. House Republicans, meanwhile, continue to discuss a number of provisions to attach to a debt-ceiling hike, including a one-year delay of the ACA’s requirement that individuals purchase health insurance or pay a fine.
Read more about other possible provisions tied to the raising of the debt ceiling at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities website.
The Arc Job Posting – Criminal Justice Fellow, National Center on Justice and Intellectual and Developmental Disability
The Arc is seeking an energetic, entrepreneurial and self-motivated person to participate in the start-up of a new National Center on Justice and Intellectual and Developmental Disability. Recent law school graduate with an interest in supporting the rights of victims, defendants/offenders, and witnesses with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) needed to establish online resource center, training, technical assistance and consulting services for criminal justice professionals (e.g. law enforcement, prosecuting and defense attorneys, judicial and court personnel, victims assistance organizations, corrections personnel and expert witnesses) and to provide programs services and supports for people with I/DD and their families.
To view the full job posting, visit The Arc’s website.
Health Care – New Resources Available on The Arc’s Website
The Arc wants to make sure you have the most up to date resources and information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have been updating our Health Care page on our website, and are excited to announce a new toolkit that will help educate individuals about the benefits of the ACA and how to support outreach and enrollment.