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At The White House: President Obama Addresses The Arc

On Friday, 150 leaders of The Arc from across the country met with senior White House officials at a Community Leaders Briefing to ask questions and discuss issues facing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The session, held just for The Arc, included an unannounced visit from President Barack Obama. The President spoke of his commitment to people with disabilities saying, “I’ve got your back.”

This surprise appearance by the President of the United States was the highlight of the day for many attendees. Check out our photos.

Over the course of the day, leaders of chapters of The Arc were briefed on topics ranging from Medicaid to education to community living and employment for people with I/DD. Many of the speakers, including President Obama, referenced the impact advocates made during budget negotiations to protect Medicaid, and encouraged The Arc and others to continue these efforts. If you aren’t already on our Action Alert list, sign up now!

Another unannounced speaker was White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, who reiterated the President’s opposition to turning Medicaid into a block grant. The Arc also heard from Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, who spoke of their commitment to providing services and supports to all in need. Other speakers included high-level representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Office of Management and Budget; and the Department of Justice. Read more on our blog.

After a tour of the East Wing of the White House, advocates from The Arc took part in policy breakout sessions that allowed for more detailed discussions on certain issue areas, like community living, family caregiving, education, and Medicaid.

The Arc is on the front lines protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community across the country, and Friday’s events at the White House show just how powerful we are as a movement at the highest levels of government. Thank you for doing all that you do in your community – and thank you for achieving with us!

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Peter V. Berns

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