Statement of National Council on Independent Living and National ADAPT on the Senate’s Motion to Proceed Vote
Yesterday, at the exact same time that the Senate voted to proceed on a bill that will strip disabled people of lives and liberty, approximately 250 advocates from ADAPT and the National Council on Independent Living were protesting the vote in the atrium of the Hart Senate office building. Capitol Police arrested 64 of our people.
We are disgusted that this bill has not yet died. Despite massive outpourings of opposition from the disability community and from the American people, Senate Republicans continue to want to debate a settled question: that the lives, liberty, and equality of disabled Americans are promised in the Constitution and secured in law.
Under the proposed cuts to Medicaid in this bill, disabled people will lose home and community based services that secure our liberty. We will be institutionalized against our will. If we refuse to be locked away in institutions, and go without community based services, many of us will rapidly get sick. Many will die. Lives and liberty. Denied to disabled people.
It would be easy to be disheartened by yesterday’s vote, but we have made important gains through this ordeal. The disability community has come together in amazing ways, and the rest of the nation has followed our lead in opposing this devastating legislation. The battle is far from over.
We call upon all Americans to oppose this threat at every opportunity. When your Senators and Representatives come back to your district, be there. Be mad. Let them know it. Make them understand that they will wear this legislation like a weight around their necks, and that they can’t threaten people’s freedom without consequences.
Our community is strong. We have faced greater threats than this Congress. We have been institutionalized, kept from our families and communities. We know what the stakes are. We have been there before and we will not go back.
We are relentless. We will not stop fighting until Medicaid is safe and disabled lives and liberty are secured. We will not stop fighting. We will not stop.