Nothing brings people together like a crisis

Last week the White House issued a report (PDF) outlining the effect of potential across-the-board cuts coming to many federal programs on January 2, 2013. These cuts are part of the Budget Control Act passed in a bipartisan manner last year.

According to the report, the cuts would result in an 8.2 percent reduction for most federal services such as special education, early intervention, vocational rehabilitation, and housing and transportation programs. It would also likely result in a 2-percent reduction in Medicare spending, but Medicaid is exempt from the cuts.

Much of the focus in Washington right now is on avoiding these cuts. In order to do so, Congress would likely still have to come up with over $1 trillion in deficit reduction. Easter Seals’ efforts are focused on assuring that people with disabilities are not harmed in whatever final form deficit reduction efforts will take. This will be true in both the short and long-term as this debate is expected to go on into 2013 regardless of the outcome of the elections in November.

While we need to get our nation’s fiscal house in order, there is real danger if we don’t do it in a thoughtful, considered and balanced way. It has been very gratifying to see the communities here in Washington come together to try to find solutions in these tough times. As a colleague said the other day with a big smile, “nothing brings people together like a crisis.”


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