The Arc at the Table with President Obama to Discuss Tax Cuts for the Middle Class, Budget and Medicaid

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Today, The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns participated in a small meeting with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior economic advisors about the President’s goal to stop middle class tax increases and to raise revenues to help invest in the nation and reduce the deficit.

“Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income, which are lifeline programs for people with disabilities, should not be at risk in these budget negotiations."

Today, The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns participated in a small meeting with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior economic advisors about the President’s goal to stop middle class tax increases and to raise revenues to help invest in the nation and reduce the deficit. The discussion centered on the urgency of passing a plan to avert raising taxes on the middle class and to raise revenues to finance the federal government without allowing drastic cuts to programs that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and other vulnerable groups rely on, like education, housing and employment. These cuts are scheduled to take place on January 1, 2013, along with the expiration of a variety of tax provisions. Without a deal this year, The Arc is very concerned about the future of Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income, along with Social Security and Medicare.

“I think everyone agrees that raising taxes on the middle class will hurt families, and that it would be particularly troubling to those that have a loved one with I/DD. These families report that they already don’t have the money they need for the care and support their loved ones need to live a decent life in the community. What will they do if they suddenly have a bigger tax bill come January 1st?” Berns said.    

“We welcome the President’s framework for generating revenue and protecting low income families,” Berns added. “Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income, which are lifeline programs for people with disabilities, should not be at risk in these budget negotiations. This approach from President Obama would help keep our nation’s commitment to people with disabilities.”

The Arc has been on the front lines of the recent budget battles to protect Medicaid, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare from cuts. As the nation faces this January 1 deadline, known as the “fiscal cliff”, The Arc is urging Congress to restore the scheduled cuts in non-defense discretionary programs and find other ways – specifically through increasing revenues as included in President Obama’s plan – to move the nation forward. This effort is critical to protecting the people that rely on Medicaid, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare from losing these critical services and supports.

“We can’t afford to not protect Medicaid. Medicaid is the lifeline keeping people with disabilities from unfathomable alternatives - like being institutionalized and losing their independence – and preserving all that we have worked for as a nation over the last 60 years to bring people with disabilities out of the shadows and into society,” said Berns.

Berns was joined at the White House by Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK, Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign, Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Deepa Iyer, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Ben Jealous, NAACP, Marc Morial, National Urban League, Janet Murguia, National Council of La Raza, Barry Rand, AARP, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, MomsRising.org, Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network, Aaron Smith, Young Invincibles, and Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners.

The Arc advocates for and serves people with I/DD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 700 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

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Kristen McKiernan
The Arc of the United States
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