AUCD Legislative News InBrief

January 14, 2008

Coming up this Week

The House of Representatives opens the second session of the 110th Congress this week while the Senate remains in recess for another week. There are two important hearings in the House this week. One on Medicaid and community-based services and supports and another on Social Security income supports. AUCD legislative affairs staff will also be participating in the annual meeting of the Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (DDRCs) and the annual meeting of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. The AUCD Legislative Affairs Committee meets tomorrow afternoon by phone.

Community Choice Act/CLASS Act

The Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing this Wednesday on long-term services and supports, focusing on the Community Choice Act. The hearing is entitled, Helping Families with Needed Care: Medicaid's Critical Role for Americans with Disabilities. AUCD assisted in developing potential questions for members of the committee along with the CCD Long Term Services Task Force. The AUCD Action Center contains a number of Action Alerts asking members of Congress to co-sponsor pending bills in Congress that address long-term services and supports, including the Community Choice Act, CLASS Act, Expanding the Promise to Individuals with Autism Act, and the Direct Support Professionals Fairness and Security Act: http://www.aucd.org/template/capwiz.cfm. The hearing will be webcasted at 10AM and January 16. More information visit the Committee website at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/membios/schedule.shtml

 

Social Security/ work incentives

The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing January 16 on Social Security benefits for economically vulnerable beneficiaries. AUCD signed on to the testimony prepared by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security and Employment Task Forces that will be delivered by Terry Moakley of United Spinal Association on behalf of CCD. The testimony addresses two priority issues for CCD: (1) Proposed changes to the Social Security Administration (SSA) appeals process that we believe are unfair to people with disabilities; and (2) Recommendations for work-related improvements that would modernize the programs to allow people who want to work to do so without fear of repercussions. The written testimony will be available on the CCD website following the hearing: www.c-c-d.org.

Postsecondary Education

Last week AUCD submitted comments to a National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) on a center on postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities under the Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) program. Education Secretary Spellings referenced this center in remarks last October at the 2007 Special Olympics Global Policy Summit in Shanghai. AUCD worked with colleagues at the National Down Syndrome Society on responses to the notice. AUCD recommended an increased funding level and grant period as well as flexibility in research design and methods. AUCD also recommended that this center remain distinct from pending provisions in the Higher Education Act that could create additional mechanisms for national training and technical assistance.

 

2008 Presidential Election

With the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary completed and a string of primaries across the country coming up, there are several resources available on Health and Disability issues. The Kaiser Family Foundation's health08.org website offers a many resources on health care and the elections. AAPD has created a website devoted to disability issues, including candidate responses to questions from the disability community and a transcript of the New Hampshire Disability forum co-sponsored by AUCD: http://www.aapd-dc.org/News/election/peac2008.php. In addition, AUCD's online Election Center offers visitors state by state information on how to register, information on all the state and federal candidates up for election, and election results at http://www.aucd.org/template/capwiz.cfm.

AUCD Policy Fellow

Please join AUCD in welcoming our new Disability Policy Fellow, Tammie Picklesimer, who joined the national office on Jan. 10. Tammie is a doctoral student in the field of exceptionalities at the University of Hawaii and a trainee for the Center on Disability Studies where she conducted research on postsecondary education for students with disabilities among other projects. She is also most recently a high school teacher in an alternative learning program for at-risk students. At AUCD, Tammie will be assisting the legislative affairs staff in pursuing its legislative goals, especially in the area of education policy, as well as assisting program staff to fulfill on ADD contract activities. Tammie can be contacted at tpicklesimer@aucd.org.

AUCD Legislative Affairs Committee

The AUCD Legislative Affairs Committee will meet by conference call tomorrow at 4PM. The Committee will discuss legislative goals for the second session of the 110th Congress. An agenda and call-in information will be emailed to committee members today.

Disability Policy Seminar

Registration is open for the 2008 Disability Policy Seminar, Advancing Disability Policy in an Election Year (March 2-4). Please visit the AUCD website for all the information you need to register for the event and hotel:

http://www.aucd.org/template/event.cfm?event_id=930&id=379&parent=379. The deadline to register without financial penalty is Feb. 7. AUCD hopes that you plan to attend this exciting association-sponsored event.