Excerpt from: Disability Scoop (click for full article)
Within days, severe budget cuts are slated to hit nearly every federal program — including special education and other disability supports — and there’s no sign of a deal on the horizon.
The sweeping automatic spending cuts will take effect March 1 unless Congress acts. For people with disabilities, the across-the-board reductions are expected to touch everything from employment assistance to housing programs, education, mental health initiatives and research dollars.
The funding chop is coming under a process known as sequestration, which was triggered in 2011 after Congress failed to reach a budget deal. The cuts were designed to be so dire that neither political party would want them to go through and the two sides would be forced to reach a deal. So far, however, that has not happened. Lawmakers already delayed the cuts once when they were were originally scheduled to take effect in January, but now hopes are dimming that another deal with be struck to avert the reductions.
“I’m growing increasingly pessimistic that we will be able to avoid sequestration, at least before the March 1 deadline,” said Lindsay Jones, senior director for policy and advocacy at the Council for Exceptional Children, which lobbies on behalf of special educators. “The two sides just seem incredibly far apart.”