AUCD Legislative News In Brief

April 13, 2009

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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are on recess and will return April 20.  This is a great time to visit with your Members of Congress while they are in their home districts.  Many members are hosting forums on health care during the recess.  AUCD issued an action alert today highlighting the importance of including long-term services in health care reform.  You can also visit AUCD's Action Center for talking points and action steps on other important issues.

FY 2010 Budget

When Congress returns next week they will continue work on the FY10 Budget Resolution.  The House and Senate will work to reconcile differences between the two budget bills in conference.  A major difference between the bills is the use of reconciliation in the House for the purposes of health care reform.  Once a final budget resolution is passed by Congress, the 12 Appropriations Subcommittees will receive allocations and they can begin to develop the annual appropriations bills.

Long Term Services and Health Care Reform

The Senate is moving quickly on drafting health care reform legislation.  Now is the time to meet with Members of Congress and urge them to include long-term services and supports in health care reform.  Ask them to support the Community Choice Act (S.683/H.R.1670) and the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act (S.697/H.R.1721).  You can send a prepared e-mail message through the AUCD Action Center.  

Housing Affordability

The Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force have issued an updated version of the Price Out study on housing affordability.  The study compares the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments of people with serious and long-term disabilities to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Market Rents for modestly priced rental units.  The national average rent for a one-bedroom unit climbed to $749 per month and the studio/efficiency unit rent to $663 per month in 2008 - both higher than $667, the average monthly income of over 4 million people with disabilities.  The full report can be accessed at the following link: http://www.tacinc.org/pubs/pricedout/2008.html

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Last week AUCD staff attended a White House briefing on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AARA).  All federal agencies handling recovery funds provided an update.  The majority of information presented can be found on the www.recovery.gov website or the AUCD stimulus webpage: http://www.aucd.org/template/page.cfm?id=632

U.S. Education Secretary Duncan hosted more than 150 representatives from education and community groups at the Department for a briefing on the ARRA on April 3rd.  As a response on April 10th educational advocacy organizations held an online stimulus town hall meeting to go over the repercussions of economic stimulus money from the Department of Education being released in part to states and local educational agencies.  A timeline for ARRA funds usage was outlined.  By the end of March 2009 50% of the IDEA Parts B and C funds will be available to states; by April 2009 State educational agencies are expected to make funds available to local education agencies; by July 2009 regular fiscal year 2009 Part B grants are awarded to states and the final date for all IDEA ARRA funds to be obligated will be no later than September 30, 2011.  More information was posted on the ARRA education website.

Disability Policy Seminar

Nearly 475 participants have registered for the Disability Policy Seminar April 27-29.  To see a list of participants registered from your state: click here.  It is very important to schedule visits with Members of Congress prior to arriving at the seminar.  If you have any questions about scheduling visits or would like guidance concerning what disability issues and AUCD priorities to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact AUCD Legislative Affairs staff: Kim Musheno (kmusheno@aucd.org), Joe Caldwell (jcaldwell@aucd.org), or Sam Marsh (smarsh@aucd.org).

An exciting agenda is being planned for the Seminar.  Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, is scheduled to speak during the opening session.  There are exciting plenary sessions being on health care reform/long-term services and budget.  There are a number of excellent break-out sessions, including one on the Developmental Disabilities Act with staff from the office of Senator Kennedy (D-MA).  The AUCD Legislative Affairs Committee will meet during the seminar at noon on Monday, April 27. A Trainee reception is also planned for that evening. To register for the Seminar or for assistance with registration contact AAIDD: https://aaiddonline.aaidd.org/events/EV04EventDetail.aspx?eventID=1057

For copies of this and previous issues of Legislative News In Brief please visit the Public Policy Page of the AUCD website: http://www.aucd.org/template/page.cfm?id=164