AUCD Legislative News In Brief

December 13, 2010

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  December 13, 2010   |  Vol. X, Issue 50
  
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Congressional Schedule
The Senate is expected to take action on the two remaining legislative items that must be addressed this session: FY 2011 appropriations and the pending tax bill (see below).  The House's schedule will depend largely on the Senate, as it will have to decide to clear or amend any bills the Senate passes.  The Senate hopes to adjourn this Friday, avoiding any potential Christmas Eve votes like the one it held last year for the health reform bill. 

Appropriations
The House passed a year-long continuing resolution (CR) (H.R. 3082) Wednesday that would maintain funding for most government programs at FY 2010 levels, but also provides more funds for priority programs, such as $6.25 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the Affordable Care Act.  The Senate is now expected to take up the bill, but will likely try to substitute a larger FY 2011 omnibus package including all twelve annual appropriations bills and likely capping discretionary spending at $1.108 trillion.  However, gathering the 60 necessary votes to move the bill in the Senate could be difficult.  Many Republicans have said they favor passing another short-term CR and resuming work on appropriations in the new Congress, when they will have a majority in the House.  Even some Democrats are wary of omnibus bills.  The Senate has also been working on a year-long CR in case it cannot pass the omnibus package.  AUCD is advocating for Congress to negotiate a final Labor, HHS, Education funding bill based on those passed by the House and Senate Committees earlier this year that contain important increases for programs important to people with disabilities and their families.

Tax Cuts
The Senate is expected to pass a measure (H.R. 4853) in the coming days that would extend tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 as well as expanded unemployment benefits for Americans who are out of work.  Democrats in the House, however, are pressing for substantial changes that could threaten Republican support for the bill.  The bill is based on a controversial framework negotiated by President Obama last week that would  temporarily extend the tax cuts for all Americans, even the most wealthy, in exchange for extending unemployment benefits another 13 months.  While many Democrats oppose extending the tax cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000, House Democrats are also unhappy with the bill's provisions dealing with the estate tax. The bill also includes some energy-related tax incentives to boost support among Democrats, as well as a provision that would reduce every worker's Social Security payroll tax by two percent for one year. 

Child Abuse Prevention
The House passed Wednesday and the Senate cleared Friday a compromise version of the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010 (S.3817), which will now be sent to the President for signing!  The bill extends current funding levels for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act through 2015 ($120 million for fiscal year 2010, and such sums as necessary for the following years), and includes strengthened provisions related to primary prevention activities and data collection on the nexus between child abuse and disability.  This bill was championed by retiring Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), a dedicated advocate for children during his time in Congress.

Healthy People 2020
The Department of Health and Human Services unveiled Healthy People 2020 (view brochure), the nation's 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention, Thursday.  Healthy People 2020 integrates extensive stakeholder feedback, including input from public health and prevention experts, a wide range of federal, state and local government officials, a consortium of more than 2,000 organizations and the public.  HHS is also launching a newly redesigned Healthy People website, www.healthypeople.gov, that allows users to tailor information to their needs and explore evidence-based resources for implementation.

Disability Policy Seminar: New Champions Needed!
Register for the 2011 Disability Policy Seminar today at www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org!  Pre-register by January 11.  Make hotel reservations by Jan. 11 online or call 1-888-421-1442. The Seminar takes place February 14-16 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC.  This two and one-half day event is chock full of information you can use to be a better advocate for yourself or the people and programs you may represent.  Join with hundreds of disability advocates from around the country at the Seminar to discuss a wide range of public policy issues affecting people with disabilities and their families.  It is so important for AUCD network members to come to this particular event since there over 100 new Members of the new 112th Congress resulting from the Nov. 4 elections.  For more information, see the seminar event page or email kmusheno@aucd.org.


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

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