-------- Original Message -------- Subject: Action Alert -- Deafblind Coalition Effort in Senate Date: Tue, 5 May 2009 10:26:04 -0400 From: AFB DirectConnect <blemoine@xxxxxxx> To: AFB Subscriber <afbweb@xxxxxxx> AFB DirectConnect Letterhead Action Alert ? Deafblind Coalition Effort in SenateThe National Coalition on Deafblindness is beginning their effort in the Senate. Once again, Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator John Kerry are leading an effort to increase funding for the deafblind technical assistance and dissemination program at the Department of Education. Their offices are coordinating a group letter to the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee asking for the increase in funding.
We need your help! The timeline for the senate is short. Your Senators need to sign on by May 14th. Please call or email your senator and ask him or her to sign on to the group letter supporting this effort. (For contact information for your senator go to the National Coalition on Deafblindness website, http://dbcoalition.org/help.htm).
It?s important to note that the Coalition is not asking for an earmark. This request is for a $5 million increase in the appropriation for an established and valuable program.
If you e-mail Betsy McGinnity, the Campaign Coordinator for the National Coalition on Deafblindness, at betsy.mcginnity@xxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:betsy.mcginnity@xxxxxxxxxxx> with either your senators? names or your address, Betsy will send you the contact information for the key staff person. Time is very short so it?s critical that your request gets in the right hands.
Here is what they will need to know:Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator John Kerry are leading the group letter in the Senate to increase funding for the deafblind technical assistance and dissemination program at the Department of Education. The staff persons coordinating the sign-on letter are Lindsay Gilchrist in Senator Kennedy?s office at Lindsay_Gilchrist@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:Lindsay_Gilchrist@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> or Alexandra Nunez in Senator Kerry?s office at alexandra_nunez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:alexandra_nunez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>.
The text of the letter that the National Coalition on Deafblindness is asking them to sign is below.
Please let Betsy McGinnity know if your senators agree to sign onto the letter. If you have any questions, e-mail betsy.mcginnity@xxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:betsy.mcginnity@xxxxxxxxxxx> or call 617-972-7519.
Text of the letter May 1, 2009 The Honorable Tom Harkin Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education Committee on Appropriations United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 The Honorable Arlen Specter Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education Committee on Appropriations United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 Dear Senators Harkin and Specter:We write to respectfully request a $5 million increase in funding in the FY10 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill to support the needs of children who are deaf-blind and their families and teachers.
The forty-six state and regional project centers that support the deaf-blind community have not had a federal budget increase in over 20 years, despite the fact that the population of children who are deaf-blind has more than doubled over that period.
For FY09 the National Technical Assistance and Dissemination Program at the Department of Education received $48.9 million for all disability technical assistance, of which $12.8 million was designated for deaf-blind programs and services. Remarkable advances in medicine and technology in recent years are enabling many more of these infants and children to survive and live longer, and the need for increased support is essential. Unfortunately, because of continuing budget shortfalls, these children are receiving fewer services, and the programs providing the services are operating with fewer well-trained personnel.
As you know, the President?s Budget proposed baseline funding for this program for FY2010. The modest $5 million increase we are requesting is urgently needed, and will help states improve services for families and teachers, support the activities of the National Technical Assistance and Dissemination Center of Deaf-blindness, and strengthen personnel preparation programs. We hope very much that you will include this increase in the Appropriations bill.
Thank you for your consideration of this important request. Sincerely, (signature line) Edward M. Kennedy (signature line) John F. Kerry