AUCD Legislative News InBrief

July 16, 2007

Appropriations

Last week the House Appropriations Committee approved its Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill. The bill is very similar to the one approved in subcommittee with only a few amendments. The next step is for the full House and Senate to consider their respective bills. The House is tentatively scheduled to consider the bill this week. The Senate hopes to take up the bill by end of July but it may not happen until after the month-long August recess. The President is still threatening to veto the bill based largely on the fact that is provides more funding than the Administration's proposal. If the appropriations bills stall over spending levels and policy disputes, the bills could be rolled into a large omnibus bill or a continuing resolution that continues spending at current or even reduced levels. Either of these options threatens the increases contained in the House and Senate bills to programs important to individuals with disabilities. AUCD has created an action alert for Members to contact their Representatives to educate them about the need to move the L-HHS-ED appropriations bills forward: http://capwiz.com/aucd/home/. For more information about the House and Senate proposed funding levels, see the June 25 issue of In Brief.

 

As stated above, the House and Senate provide different funding levels for programs important to people with disabilities (see table below). In general, the House provides more funding for education programs and the Senate provides higher funding levels for health programs. For DD Act programs, the Senate bill includes a $20 million increase, including a $5.5 million increase to the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) to $38.7 million; $77.3 for the DD Councils (+5.5 million); $42.7 million (+$4 million) for the Protection and Advocacy Systems; $16.7 million for disabled voter services; and $15.4 million for Projects of National Significance (+4 million). The Committee also includes a new $2 million for a National Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Center on Family Support with local projects in as many states as funds permit.

 

The House and Senate also treat the new LEND program funding authorized through the Combating Autism Act differently. The House provides $30 million for autism and related developmental disabilities activities through SPRANS (Special Projects of Regional and National Significance). The Senate bill provides $37 million for autism activities but separates the existing funding streams from the SPRANS set-aside into a new separate line item called Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities. This new structure is not intended to affect existing grant programs funded by Maternal and Child Health. AUCD is reviewing the House and Senate language and working with others in the MCH community to understand the respective impact of the two different approaches; however, it supports the overall $57 million increase for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant provided by the House bill and the Senate's higher number for autism related activities.

 

Both the House and Senate reports include language advocated by AUCD recognizing the outstanding contributions of the Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (MRDDRC). The Committee reports that it "is concerned that the centers have not been given sufficient resources to sustain the progress made in this critical area, even though they received outstanding scientific evaluations. The Committee further "urges the NICHD to provide additional resources to the MRDDRCs so that they can conduct translational research to develop effective prevention and intervention strategies for children and adults with developmental disabilities." AUCD also worked to get report language included in the House bill concerning the long-standing issue of the National Family Caregiver Support Program not covering aging caregivers of adults with developmental and other disabilities. The language clarifies that Congress intended to cover this population of aging caregivers during reauthorization of the Older Americans Act last year and urges the Administration on Aging to do so.

FY 08 L-HHS-ED Appropriations:

Comparison between House and Senate Committees

Program

FY 07 Final

House

Committee

(FY07 Difference)

Senate

Committee

(FY07 Difference)

Senate - House Difference

UCEDDs

33.2

33.2 (+0.01)

38.7 (+5.5)

+5.5

DD Councils

71.7

76.7 (+5.0)

77.3 (+5.6)

+0.6

P&As

38.7

38.7 (0.0)

42.7 (+4.0)

+4.0

PNS/Family Support

11.4

11.4 (0.0)

15.4 (+4.0)

+4.0

Family Support Clearinghouse and TA

New

0.0

2.0

+2.0

Voter Access

15.7

15.7 (0.0)

16.7 (+1.0)

+1.0

MCH Block Grant

693.0

750.0 (+57.0)

673.0 (-20.0)

-77.0

Autism and Related DD

20.0

30.0 (+10.0)

37.0 (+17.0)

+7.0

CDC Center on Birth Defects/DD

124.5

NA

128.7 (+4.2)

NA

NIH

28,931.0

29,650.0 (+719.0)

29,899.9 (+968.9)

+249.9

NICHD

1,254.7

1,273.8 (+19.1)

1,282.2 (+27.5)

+8.4

CAPTA

 


 


 


 


Child Abuse State Grants

27.0

27.0 (0.0)

27.0 (0.0)

0.0

Discretionary Grants

25.7

36.0 (+10.3)

37.7 (+12.0)

+1.7

Community Based Resource Centers

42.0

42.0 (0.0)

42.4 (+0.4)

+.4

Social Services (SSBG)

1,700.0

1,700.0 (0.0)

NA

 


National Family Caregiver Support

156.0

156.0 (0.0)

156.0 (0.0)

0.0

IDEA Part B State Grants

10,782.9

10,957.4 (+174.4)

11,240.0 (+457.1)

+282.6

Part B Preschool Grants

380.7

380.7 (0.0)

380.7 (0.0)

0.0

Part C Infants and Toddlers

436.4

436.4 (0.0)

450.0 (+13.6)

+13.6

IDEA Part D

 


 


 


 


Personnel Development

50.7

NA

46.0 (-4.7)*

NA

TA and dissemination

48.9

48.9 (0.0)

48.9 (0.0)

0.0

Personnel Preparation

89.7

89.7 (0.0)

89.7 (0.0)

0.0

Parent information centers

25.7

25.7 (0.0)

27.0 (0.0)

+1.3

Technology and media

38.4

36.9 (-1.5)

40.0 (+1.6)

+3.1

Institute for Education Sciences

 


 


 


 


Research in Spec. Ed.

71.8

71.8 (0.0)

71.8 (0.0)

0.0

Studies and Evaluations

9.9

9.9 (0.0)

9.6 (-3.0)

-0.3

Higher Ed Demonstration in Disabilities

6.8

6.8 (0.0)

6.8 (0.0)

0.0

NIDRR

106.7

106.7 (0.0)

106.7 (0.0)

0.0

VR State Grants

2,837.2

2,874.0 (+36.8)

2,847.0 (+36.8)

0.0

VR Supported Employment

30.0

30.0 (0.0)

29.7 (-0.3)*

0.0

Assistive Technology

30.5

30.5 (0.0)

32.0 (+1.5)

+1.5

Lifespan Respite Care Act

New law

0.0

0.0

0.0

SCHIP

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to mark up legislation to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) tomorrow. A bi-partisan agreement was reached last week among the Finance Committee on a roughly $35 billion package. The $35 billion comes from $0.61 per pack increase in cigarette tax (above the current $0.39 per pack federal tax). The amount of proposed funding is short of the $50 billion allotted for SCHIP under the budget resolution. The Finance Committee proposal would phase out coverage of adults. Also, it avoids cutting any of the extra payments to Medicare Advantage programs which has been proposed as another way to possibly pay for SCHIP. The House may consider this option to achieve a $50 billion package. However, the White House is already threatening a possible veto because the administration believes the SCHIP expansion is too broad.

Community long-term services and supports/CLASS Act
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing last week on community long-term services and supports. Over 300 people attended. Witnesses provided moving testimony that covered a broad range of policy issues, including the CLASS Act, Community Choice Act, and direct support professionals. Deborah Fleming, Ph.D., Clinical Professor at the UCEDD in Wyoming (WIND), was among those to testify. Fleming focused on challenges in the current long term care system and how Wyoming's Aging and Disability Resource Center as an example of how states might address the challenge. The CLASS Act was introduced on the same day by Senator Kennedy (D-MA) and Representatives Dingell (D-MI) and Pallone (D-NY) (Awaiting Senate Bill number; H.R. 3001). The webcast and testimony from the hearing are available here.  Also, due to the large turnout and recognition of the importance of this issue, the HELP Committee is encouraging individuals to provide feedback. They have set up the following e-mail address to send feedback and comments: communityfeedback@help.senate.gov

 

CCD Meeting with Majority Leader

Members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Board of Directors, including Kim Musheno, met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last week. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of the consortium, introduce it's leaders and provide contact information, and discuss the consortium's legislative priorities. The CCD is a coalition of over 100 national organizations that advocate for national public policy that ensures the self determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society (www.c-c-d.org).

 

Postsecondary Education

Cornell University will host a forum and webinar on policy recommendations for employment and higher education for students with disabilities on July 27. Presenters will include: Jane West (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education), Robert Weathers (MATHEMATICA Policy Research, Inc), George Jesien (AUCD), Arisa Nakamori and Stacey Millbern (Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation/AAPD Congressional Interns). You can register online at: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/PolicyForum.cfm. Please indicate in the comments section that you wish to join the webinar versus attend in person.