Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Leo's Letter: The Arc In Action at the Disability Policy Seminar and on Capitol Hill - The Arc of Massachusetts Skip to main content

This week in Washington, D.C., The Arc of Massachusetts continued our collaboration with 63 participants across several Massachusetts disability partners.

Below, you can see team members in photos with Senator Ed Markey; Congresspersons Ayanna Pressley, Seth Moulton, and Jake Auchincloss; and aides for the remaining state delegation in DC. I’m writing this on our day on the Hill, so we may have seen other officials (as we did Congressman Jim McGovern) but not taken a photo.

The team of Hill visit partners included Boston Children’s Hospital/Institute for Community Inclusion and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMass Chan Medical School. We also were joined by UMass Amherst’s Boltwood Project. Other partners may have conducted their own visits, and you can learn about the national collaboration here.

The key issues discussed in these meetings parallel what we are fighting for in our Commonwealth — for example, our major theme of the workforce and, closely related to that priority, addressing the unmet needs of those requiring 1:1 assistance (medical, behavioral, or other reasons). Many of these individuals have not been able to return to meaningful day activities or employment.

The solution? Increasing  home and community based services/supports (HCBS) funding to states through the HCBS Access Act or other vehicles. Representative Debbie Dingell and Senator Bob Casey plan to release a new HCBS bill soon.

Other issues covered include:

  • Social Security, ending the low thresholds for assets ($2k max for singles) or caps on SSDI monthly income which haven’t been increased to address inflation for many years.
  • Education.
  • Voting rights bill.
  • Safety and Criminal Justice.

A very critical issue is the reauthorization of the Autism Cares Act which expires or “sunsets” on September 30, 2024. The Act is the most comprehensive federal law addressing the urgent needs of children, adolescents, and adults with autism. Over its 17-year history, this law has resulted in a significant increase in our understanding of autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities

Senator Ed Markey

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Office

Congressman Jake Auchincloss

Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s Office

Congressman Jim McGovern’s Office

Congressman Seth Moulton

Congressman Richard Neal’s Office

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley

Congresswoman Lori Trahan’s Office

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