Langevin Hails Funding Commitment for Disabilities Initiative

Jan 24, 2003
(Washington, D.C.)–Congressman Jim Langevin today expressed his support for the Bush Administration’s $1.75 billion proposal to help people with disabilities live independently. The funds are slated to be used for Medicaid services, home- and community-based care alternatives and extended Medicaid eligibility for spouses of disabled individuals who return to the workplace.

 According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the proposal is one of several new items to be included in the Fiscal Year 2004 budget as part of the President’s New Freedom Initiative, a nationwide effort to integrate people with disabilities more fully into society.  Congressman Langevin joined President Bush at the White House in February of 2001 as the President first announced the New Freedom Initiative.

 “Living a rewarding, active and independent life is a goal that millions of individuals with some form of disability strive to achieve every day,” said Congressman Langevin.  “I am hopeful that the Administration’s commitment to helping those with disabilities will empower millions of Americans to obtain jobs, purchase homes and take advantage of all that life has to offer.  I will work in Congress to ensure that this funding becomes a reality, and I look forward to working with the Administration to promote programs that can make an enormous difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities.”

In a recent survey by the National Organization on Disability, over 81 percent of people with disabilities stated they wanted an opportunity to work.  Statistics from the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities demonstrate that people with disabilities have impressive records of attendance and longevity in the workplace.  Nonetheless, the unemployment rate among people with disabilities hovers at 70 percent, and 20 percent of all Americans live with some form of disability.  The U.S. Census reports that there are over 10 million Americans of working age with disabilities nationwide who are unemployed. 

In 1980, at the age of sixteen, Congressman Langevin was injured in an accident while working with the Warwick Police Department as a cadet in the Boy Scout Explorer program. A gun accidentally discharged and a bullet struck Langevin, leaving him paralyzed. 

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For additional information on the New Freedoms Initiative, please visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/news/freedom