AUCD Legislative News InBrief

January 5, 2009

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Congressional Agenda

Happy New Year! The 111th Congress is set to convene tomorrow.  The House is expected to consider a package of rule changes that may include repealing term limits of committee chairmanships and procedural rules that could limit minority power.   The House also plans to consider several bills before the new president takes office. The lineup includes a large economic stimulus package (see more below), an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the leftover fiscal 2009 appropriations omnibus bill, a "card check" bill sought by labor unions that would eliminate secret-ballot elections before a union could be certified, and legislation to make it easier for women who are paid less than their male counterparts to bring suits against their employers and be compensated, known as the "Lilly Ledbetter bill." The Ledbetter bill passed the House last year and fell a few votes short in the Senate.   The Senate will also consider how to move forward with questions surrounding the Illinois and Minnesota Senate seats.

 

Committee membership and leadership will be finalized over the next few weeks before the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.  Senate committees will begin confirmation hearings this week for Obama's Cabinet appointments. The nomination hearing of former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services will be held on Jan. 8. On January 9, a hearing for the nomination of Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), for Secretary of Labor will be held.

 

Economic Stimulus

President-elect Obama is meeting with Congressional leaders today concerning an economic stimulus package reportedly in the range of $700 to $1 trillion.  Democratic leaders had hoped to move the package through Congress for President Obama to sign on January 20.  However, the new target date being discussed is February 13 before the President's Day recess.  The plan could include upwards of $200 billion in relief to states for Medicaid and education and extension of unemployment compensation.  Increases in special education and Head start could be considered.  The tax portion of the plan could grow to approximately $300 billion targeting businesses and middle- and lower-income individuals.  CCD provided recommendations concerning individuals with disabilities for inclusion in the economic recovery plan.      

 

Kennedy Foundation Policy Process Resource

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation has developed an introductory guide on the policymaking process at the national level, focused on individuals with disabilities.  It is available on the Foundation website: http://www.jpkf.org/JPKF-Policy-Guide/index.htm  

 

CCD Annual Meeting

AUCD staff will participate in the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) annual meeting this Friday.  The CCD Board and task forces will be organized at the meeting.  Task force reports from the previous year will be posted on the CCD Website:  http://www.c-c-d.org/.   Staff from the Obama transition team and Congressional leadership have been invited to discuss the transition and plans for the 111th Congress that might impact disability policies.  A panel of key congressional staff and policy experts will also discuss health care reform activities and outlook. 

 

New Members Welcome Letter

AUCD Legislative Affairs staff is preparing a welcome packet to new members of Congress that will include the AUCD and Center brochures.  We would like to give you an opportunity to include a personal letter, annual report, and/or any other information pertaining to your Center(s) in the AUCD welcome packet.  You may also want to send your own welcome letter. Please mail or e-mail your information as soon as possible but no later than January 21 to Tammie Picklesimer at the AUCD office.

 

In Brief Editor's Note

Welcome to AUCD Legislative News In Brief's ninth volume!  Beginning with this first edition, AUCD is introducing audio podcasts of In Brief. You will be able to listen to the audio files on our podcast player or download the mp3 file to your computer or media player by selecting the Podcast file linked to the publication's website. In the future you will be able to subscribe to the podcast and receive updates whenever there is new content. Your feedback regarding this new feature is encouraged and welcome. Please send comments to Kim Musheno at kmusheno@aucd.org.