A May 16 release from ADAPT:
Approximately 200 disability rights activists representing the national grassroots disability rights group ADAPT took to Capitol Hill today to urge members of Congress to work to pass the Disability Integration Act (DIA) (S.910/HR.2472) and continue the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program through the EMPOWER Care Act (S.2227/HR.5306). The DIA would ensure that any person with a disability who qualifies to live in an institution will also qualify for services to live independently in the community, and continuing MFP would ensure a funding stream continues to be available for transition to community living from institutions.
The DIA, crafted by ADAPT and allies of disability rights, fulfills a sacred mission; “The DIA upholds our Constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” said Tom Earle, an organizer with the Philadelphia chapter of ADAPT.
Today, members of ADAPT are sharing a simple message with their elected officials: There is broad bipartisan support for DIA, more than 700 organizations nationwide are in support. “Conservative, progressive, bipartisan, nonpartisan, whatever…. We can all agree that DIA needs to happen,” said Josue Rodriguez, an organizer with El Paso ADAPT.
The bipartisan backing of the bill was apparent yesterday when Center for American Progress (CAP) the only progressive think tank with a dedicated Disability Unit, endorsed DIA. In a statement read by Rebecca Cokley, CAP Senior Fellow for Disability Policy, CAP said “Disturbingly, nearly three decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, too many Americans with disabilities are still fighting for the right to live independently rather than in isolating institutions. This must end. CAP commends ADAPT for its leadership in raising awareness about this injustice and is proud to support the Disability Integration Act.” At about the same time yesterday, the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation issued a statement of support for the bill and its principles.
ADAPT has also been active on the Hill this week. On Monday, they went to both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate HELP committee seeking co-sponsorship. Senator Patty Murray engaged the group and, after discussion with the ADAPT members in her office, she agreed to sign on. Meanwhile, there were 51 arrests in Senator Alexander’s office. ADAPT is hopeful that the week of bipartisan efforts will reap benefits in terms sponsors across the political spectrum.
“It’s a bill everyone likes. Given the broad support from both parties, we don’t understand why it hasn’t passed yet,” said Mr. Rodriguez.
For decades ADAPT has worked to secure for disabled Americans the same rights and liberties enjoyed by their non-disabled neighbors. Learn more about ADAPT’s history and activities at www.adapt.org, on social media with the National ADAPT Facebook and Twitter pages. Also, under the hashtag #ADAPTandRESIST.