The Sept. 29 news article “Trump signs bill that averts shutdown, sets up border wall fight” gave scant attention to a rare bipartisan victory that will help people with developmental disabilities. The spending bill does much more than “avert” a government shutdown. For the first time since 1997, Congress passed the spending bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education departments ahead of the fiscal year deadline. Just in time for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, this law includes funding for the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities that use their federal funding to invest in local projects that increase access to inclusive employment, education, housing and transition services for people with developmental disabilities and more. These programs can now operate without the threat of continuing resolutions that previously hurt commerce and innovation by creating massive uncertainty and additional administrative cost.
When the appropriations process works, it allows us to engage state, local, nonprofit and for-profit partners to fill gaps in services for people with developmental disabilities, just as Congress intended when it passed the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act more than 50 years ago authorizing these funds. I hope Congress and the president will continue to pass timely appropriations in the years to come.
Donna Meltzer, Washington
The writer is chief executive of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.