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Disability Groups Uneasy About Bush Budget Plan
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 10, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC--Several disability advocacy groups took aim this week at President Bush following the release of his proposed budget, saying that the plan is a list of "broken promises".

"At a time when America is engaged in a fight for freedom and liberty throughout the world, the President's budget proposal would jeopardize the freedom, liberties, well-being, and very lives of people with disabilities in our own country," said Curt Decker, Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.

The CCD noted that the President's plan calls for cuts of $60 billion over the next 10 years in Medicaid, the health care program funded by states and the federal government for people with low incomes, seniors and people with disabilities. If passed as written, the budget would also lead to a 50 percent cut in housing assistance through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with the elimination of a Department of Labor employment program designed specifically for Americans with disabilities, and a reduction by 50 percent in the funds authorized to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

"The President's fiscal year 2006 budget reveals broken promises and wrong priorities," the CCD concluded, and urged Congress to reject the budget as proposed.

William Emment, campaign coordinator for the Campaign for Mental Health Reform, said in a statement: "The President’s budget -- and the disregard it shows for the urgent need to address unmet mental health needs in America -- is incredibly disappointing."

"At a time when the Administration should be offering bold proposals to address major problems in public mental health systems, it has instead proposed tens of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid -- the largest public funder of mental health services -- and slashed discretionary spending on mental health."

The Paralyzed Veterans of America called Bush's request a "callous disregard for the services of America's veterans" and "another attempt to place the burden of needed funding increases on the backs of sick and disabled veterans."

"I don't understand where their priorities are," said Randy Pleva, national president of PVA. "At a time when more and more service members are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in need of health care and when aging veterans of previous wars are turning to the VA for their medical needs, the Administration proposes a basically flat budget with the only increases coming out of veterans' pockets."

A PVA press statement said that the budget calls for additional appropriations of just $111 million, representing an increase of only four-tenths of one percent in health care for veterans, while increasing copays and additional fees.

"This is just not acceptable," Pleva said.

Related press releases and articles:
"Budget Brings More Broken Promises" (The Campaign for Mental Health Reform)

http://www.mhreform.org/news/2-8-05budget.htm
"President's FY 2006 Budget at a Glance" (The Campaign for Mental Health Reform)
http://www.mhreform.org/policy/fy206budget.htm
"President's Budget Reveals Broken Promises and Wrong Priorities" (Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities)
http://www.c-c-d.org/priorities.htm
"Paralyzed Veterans of America Calls Administration’s Budget Proposal Woefully Inadequate" (Paralyzed Veterans of America)
http://www.pva.org/newsroom/PR2005/pr05003.htm

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