National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI Leaders Lobby Congress

Call For Immediate Closure on FY 2004 Appropriations Bill

State and local leaders of NAMI: The Nation’s Voice on Mental Illness visited Capitol Hill offices on Thursday, January 15, as part of an annual leadership conference lasting through the weekend. NAMI called on Congress to:

  • Invoke cloture in the Senate as the first order of business after January 20 on the FY 2004 Omnibus Appropriations bill (HR 2673). The bill includes funds for important mental illness research and services, including increases for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and veterans.
  • Contact the Postmaster General immediately to express support for the "Silver Ribbon" Brain Disability Awareness postage stamp proposal scheduled for consideration by an advisory committee on January 22.
  • Pass mental illness health insurance parity (S 486/HR 953). In April 2002, President Bush pledged:  "I will work with [Senator Domenici]. I will work with the Speaker, I will work with their House and Senate colleagues to reach an agreement."
  • Support S 1248 to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and oppose the House version (HR 1350) which threatens the right of students with mental illnesses to receive an appropriate education.
  • Pass the Mentally Ill Offender and Crime Reduction Act (S 199/HR 2387) to promote jail diversion and treatment, as well as provide funds in FY2005 for mental health courts.
  • Pass the Family Opportunity Act (S622/HR1811), the Keeping Families Together Act (S1704/HR3243), and the Child Healthcare Crisis Relief Act (S1223/HR 1359) to help families whose children confront severe mental illnesses.
  • Expand access to specialized care for veterans with mental illnesses and protect their access to the newest, most effective medications.
  • Protect Medicaid eligibility against elimination based on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) status; expand community-based treatment and service options, including passage of S2072/HR2364 for Programs of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT).
  • Pass a FY 2005 budget for the Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD) that includes full funding of Section 8 vouchers and increases in Section 811 rent subsidies. Also pass HR1102 to establish a National Housing Trust Fund.
  • Press the Social Security Administration to implement fully the Ticket-to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act to remove remaining barriers to employment; use the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (HR 1261) as an opportunity to improve performance of "one stop" employment offices; and expedite passage of the Social Security Protection Act (HR 743).
  • Restore the annual rate of increase in NIMH research funds to at least the levels of 1998 through 2002, while requiring greater focus on the most severe brain disorders.
  • Target funds for the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) of the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for investment in evidence-based, community-based, outreach-oriented service delivery models as recommended by the President’s New Freedom Commission.