UnidosUS Statement in Response to Omnibus Appropriations Package
Washington, DC— Congress unveiled the 2023 omnibus appropriations package today, which sets federal spending for Fiscal Year 2023.
The bill includes policies and increased funding for programs that benefit Latinos and all Americans, especially related to health care and coverage, which are critical as we continue to weather the pandemic and other health threats. Sonia M. Pérez, Acting CEO + COO of UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization, issued the following statement in response to the package:
“We applaud the health coverage protections in this package. Thankfully, Medicaid is strengthened, on an ongoing basis, by improving the continuity of coverage and care for children and post-partum women. The legislation also extends for five years important temporary protections for U.S. citizens who live in Puerto Rico. And while the bill authorizes Medicaid programs to begin terminating families’ eligibility on April 1, 2023, it gives the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) powerful new tools to hold states accountable to protect families’ health coverage during the next few years.
Some funding priorities that specifically would benefit Latino families and that UnidosUS has championed also received modest but meaningful increases including funds to support English learners in public schools and low-income college students seeking to earn a degree, and programs that promote naturalization among long-term immigrants. We express our sincere appreciation to Rep. Barbara Lee and Sen. Alex Padilla for ensuring funding to UC Berkeley for a first-of-its-kind pipeline to support scholars conducting community-based research to address systemic inequities faced by Latinos. The Electoral Reform Act is also included in the package, which would reduce the likelihood of another attack on the Capitol to overturn election results.
“At the same time, the following critical Latino priorities failed to be included and represent a missed opportunity to lock in progress made by Latinos during the pandemic:
- Fully protect Medicaid coverage for 15 million people, the majority of whom are Latino and other people of color, who are in danger of losing health care when Medicaid’s continuous coverage requirements end on April 1. While CMS will have the ability to oversee and intervene in state actions, state Medicaid programs will still be able to impose needless administrative burdens that terminate health care for eligible families.
- Make any of the 2021 Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansions permanent, reversing the progress made in reducing child poverty and eliminating critical economic support for more than 19 million children and their families.
- Resolve the precarious status of Dreamers and other long-term undocumented immigrants through targeted immigration reforms, as well as make important investments to fortify the border. Despite widespread support from voters who wanted to see immediate action after the election, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Cornyn blocked bipartisan efforts by Senators Tillis and Sinema to provide a legislative solution.
“We welcome the critical health and other investments included in this omnibus package. And to the millions impacted by what was left out, we reiterate our strong commitment to continue to fight for these unaddressed Latino priorities in 2023 before the new Congress, the Biden administration, and in the states. These missing investments not only affect the country’s 62 million Latinos, they have implications for our nation’s future prosperity. Despite the omnibus’s harmful shortcomings, it deserves legislators’ support and we urge Congress to pass it and send it to the President for his signature.”