for the week of January 6, 2014
The Arc Action Alert: National Call-in Week for The Disability Treaty!
Major Events this Week
Budget and Appropriations – FY 2014 Spending Bills and Debt Limit Increase Expected
to Take Center Stage in the New Year
Congress returns this week with only a few days to pass appropriations measures or a
continuing resolution, consistent with the end-of-year budget agreement, before January
16th, when temporary funding for the government under the current continuing resolution
expires. The two appropriations bills that fund the vast majority of disability-related programs,
the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill (L-HHS-ED) and the
Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) bill, may be continued at
current spending levels for at least some time because both have recently encountered
opposition in Congress. It will remain to be seen how specific disability-related programs such
supportive housing, special education, and supported employment ultimately fare in 2014.
There is also some concern that the need to raise the debt ceiling again in mid-February to
early March may provide another threat to spending programs. Some Members of Congress
may demand further spending cuts as a condition of raising the debt ceiling.
Recent Major Events
Employment – Unemployment Insurance Expired Dec. 28 for 1.3 Million Americans
The 2013 end-of-year Congressional budget deal failed to include an extension of federal
emergency unemployment compensation, also known as extended unemployment insurance
(UI). As a result, on December 28, approximately 1.3 million jobless workers lost their UI
benefits, or about one in three UI beneficiaries. By the end of 2014, another 3.6 million people
will lose UI benefits, according to the Department of Labor. This much-needed federal
emergency unemployment compensation was created in 2008 to aid long-term unemployed
workers during the recent recession, and to boost th e economy. While these types of
emergency federal UI benefits are intended to phase out as the economy recovers,
long-term unemployment continues to be a major challenge. The Arc and many others are
concerned that unless Congress acts quickly to extend the program, ending these benefits now
will harm workers and their families, including many adults and children with disabilities.
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423