AUCD Legislative News InBrief

December 8, 2008

Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate plans to meet to consider a proposal to assist the automobile industry.  The House will likely return only if progress is made on a bailout bill. 

 

Appropriations

The House and Senate are currently working out conference issues on the FY 09 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bills, with the understanding that Congress will produce a final bill by the end of December.  The plan is to roll it into an omnibus bill with the seven other remaining appropriations bills and to try to move it in January as soon as the new Congress convenes. The rumor is that appropriators are generally splitting the difference between the current House and Senate bills.  The Senate bill provides a $2 million increase for the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD).  The House bill provides no increase. Both bills provide increases for the LEND programs.  Both bills also increase funding for NIH and NICHD that provides most of the funding for the IDDRC network.  The final omnibus bill will likely be signed by President-elect Obama right after his inauguration but it could be signed by President Bush early in January.

 

Economic Stimulus

AUCD signed on to a large coalition letter asking for $1 billion for NIH to be included in the economic stimulus package being crafted by Congress.  AUCD also assisted with developing a letter that was sent to House leadership by Co-Chairs of the CCD Health and Long-Term Services and Supports concerning Medicaid and the economic stimulus.  The letter urges the inclusion of at least $40 billion for a temporary Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) (federal share of Medicaid) increase tied with maintenance of effort provisions on eligibility and services.  In addition, CCD urged the inclusion of an additional $5-$10 billion for an FMAP increase specifically targeting home and community-based services.  This would stimulate the economy through restoration and creation of new jobs for direct support professionals while addressing waiting lists and unmet needs for individuals with disabilities.           

Transition

The Obama Transition Team is making unprecedented use of technology to promote transparency and open participation.  Director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs Michael Strautmanis discusses the process in a video posted on the Transition Team website.  The Obama Health Care Transition team, including former South Dakota Senator and incoming Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Daschle, are soliciting comments and recommendations on health care reform via an internet blog on the transition website.  Last week AUCD sent out an alert to the network encouraging posts to raise the level of awareness and importance about disability issues in health care reform.  This is a good opportunity to raise issues such as health promotion and prevention of secondary conditions, interdisciplinary training of health care professionals, health disparities for individuals with disabilities, transitions of children with disabilities from pediatric to adult care, inclusion of long-term care services and supports, and health insurance funding for ASD services.

 

Education

The Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services released final regulations for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities and Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities. The regulations address five issues: (1) Parental revocation of consent after consenting to the initial provisions of services; (2) a State's or local educational agency's obligation to make positive efforts to employ qualified individuals with disabilities; (3) representation of parents by non-attorneys in due process hearings; (4) State monitoring, technical assistance, and enforcement of the Part B program; and (5) the allocation of funds, under section 611 and 619 of the Act. AUCD prepared joint comments with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Education Task Force. A summary of the final regulations and additional information are on the AUCD policy Webpage. 

 

AUCD Legislative Affairs Committee

The Legislative Affairs Committee meets tomorrow afternoon via conference call to begin developing legislative goals for the 111th Congress on behalf of the association.  AUCD is also participating in the development of joint legislative goals with The Arc, UCP, AAIDD, NACDD and ANCOR. The development of the goals will be based, in part, on the results of a survey taken by the partnering organizations last month.  Sixty six individuals from AUCD participated in the survey representing 17 percent of the total respondents (396).  Issues that rose to the top as critical legislative issues included Medicaid, direct support, Housing, Family Support, Education, Developmental Disabilities and Social Security/Income Maintenance.  The goals are also based on known priorities of the new Congress and Administration as well as laws that are due for reauthorization.  For more information or to provide input into the development of the AUCD legislative goals, contact Kim Musheno at kmusheno@aucd.org.