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Community Options is proud to advocate to Federal and state policymakers to increase funding for home and community-based services (HCBS).

HCBS funding is critical to improve wages for direct support professionals. We applaud Senator Bob Casey (recipient Community Options’ Betty Pendler Award in 2020) and the 30 other United States Senators that called on President Joe Biden to make significant investments into HCBS.

View the HCBS letter here.

February 5, 2021

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden Jr.
President of the United States

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Kamala D. Harris
Vice President of the United States

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Biden and Vice President Harris: 

Congratulations on your inauguration. We are inspired by your bold American Rescue Plan to defeat the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic and your Build Back Better Jobs and Recovery plan to bolster our fragile economy. Your vision includes a long overdue investment in the caregiving economy—to build a durable and robust workforce, to advance racial and gender equity and to make it possible for older adults and people with disabilities to receive long-term services and supports in their homes and communities. We strongly support this investment and stand ready to help your Administration make it a reality.

Economists and workers know that now, and in the coming decades, our fellow Americans will need a stable, reliable and well-supported workforce to care for many of our relatives, friends and neighbors. During your campaign, you laid out a plan to invest $450 billion in Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS). Your proposal recognizes the needs of children with complex medical needs, youth and adults with disabilities as well as aging adults.

As a critical component of your Build Back Better Plan, this investment in HCBS would create a robust caregiving system, while also driving sustainable economic growth and meeting the health care needs of our Nation’s rapidly aging population. It would help propel the country’s economy out of the pandemic-induced recession by increasing employment and enabling those receiving services to participate in their communities. It would transform low-paid caregiving jobs into family-sustaining occupations with higher wages, benefits and the opportunity to join a union. These outcomes would also advance racial and gender equity given that the caregiving profession is disproportionately supported by Black women, other women of color and immigrants. Finally, such an investment would support people with disabilities, older adults and family caregivers with the supports they need to live the lives they wish to lead.

The challenges facing our Nation’s long-term care system predated this pandemic, which has only exacerbated its many flaws. An essential HCBS workforce supports millions of older adults and people with disabilities to live in their own homes and communities, but many of these workers struggle to support themselves and their families financially. Even worse, too many of these workers have been without basic personal protective equipment, timely COVID-19 testing and enforceable safety standards as the pandemic ravages our Nation. Your caregiving economic plan will provide direct support workers with the compensation and essential benefits they deserve. By strengthening the workforce, your plan also will provide the reliable supports needed by people with disabilities and older adults who wish to remain in their homes and communities.

At the outset of your Administration, we have the opportunity to rescue a teetering caregiving system and recreate it to transform the lives of millions of workers and to serve as an economic workhorse. For many years, both political parties have failed to value and affirm the caregiving workforce that provides essential care for older Americans, children and people with disabilities. We must seize this opportunity, as we have an imperative to respond to the devastation this pandemic has wrought, with a forward-looking plan to reshape our long-term care system.

We have an obligation to act on behalf of those heroes on the front lines who risked their lives to care for our loved ones. We in the federal government also must take decisive action to honor the workers, older adults and people with disabilities who have lost their lives to this pandemic. Your plan to invest in a caregiving economy is a plan to invest in America and its people. We look forward to working with you to make these goals a reality. Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr. United States Senator

Cory A. Booker United States Senator  

Elizabeth Warren United States Senator

Kirsten Gillibrand United States Senator

Debbie Stabenow United States Senator

Tammy Duckworth United States Senator

Jacky Rosen United States Senator

Richard Blumenthal United States Senator  

Richard J. Durbin United States Senator

Amy Klobuchar United States Senator

Jeanne Shaheen United States Senator

Michael F. Bennet United States Senator  

Chris Van Hollen United States Senator

Tina Smith United States Senator  

Sheldon Whitehouse United States Senator

Robert Menendez United States Senator    

Tammy Baldwin United States Senator

Edward J. Markey United States Senator

Raphael Warnock United States Senator

Tim Kaine United States Senator  

Catherine Cortez Masto United States Senator

Alex Padilla United States Senator  

Jack Reed United States Senator

Ben Ray Luján United States Senator  

Jeffery A. Merkely  United States Senator

Mark R. Warner United States Senator  

Christopher S. Murphy United States Senator

Angus S. King, Jr. United States Senator  

Mazie K. Hirono United States Senator