AUCD Legislative News In Brief

December 23, 2010

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  December 23, 2010   |  Vol. X, Issue 52
  
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Editor's Note
This is the last issue of In Brief for this year!  Our next issue will come out on January 3.  AUCD's legislative affairs staff wish you all a safe and fun holiday break.

Congressional Schedule
Congress adjourned Wednesday after a whirlwind "lame duck" session.  Before leaving, lawmakers managed to finish a short-term continuing resolution (see Appropriations), a bill providing health care for September 11th rescue workers, and ratification of a nuclear arms treaty with Russia.  The 112th Congress begins on January 5. 

Appropriations
As expected, Congress passed Tuesday a short-term continuing resolution (CR) (H.R. 3082) to keep government programs funded through March 4, leaving appropriations for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year to be dealt with in the new Congress.  The failure of Congress to pass its twelve annual funding bills or an omnibus package is a huge loss for AUCD's network programs, which stood to gain funding increases of up to $1 million for UCEDDs and $2 million for LENDs.  Similar increases for the Protection and Advocacy systems and state Councils on Developmental Disabilities were also lost.  AUCD encourages its network members to educate their new and returning members of Congress over the break on the importance of these programs for individuals with disabilities and their families and the need for funding increases in FY 2011 and beyond.

Health Care and Appropriations
The CR funds most programs at FY 2010 levels, and does not include increased funding to several government agencies for implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the $750 million allocated for the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the law.  This omission represents the first of what will likely be many attempts to delay and obstruct implementation of health reform in the 112th Congress.  Fortunately, though, the ACA is overwhelmingly funded through mandatory appropriations; thus, if Congress does not pass legislation relating to these funds, it simply means that it does not specify how the money will be spent, and the Administration will make the decision. 

Child Abuse Prevention
President Obama signed the CAPTA Reauthorization Act into law on Monday, December 20!  In a White House press release, the President thanked the sponsors of the legislation, with special thanks to Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), stating that "This legislative achievement is a fitting tribute to his many years of effort in the Senate to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens."  Although the bill is modest in scope, AUCD is very pleased that it was signed into law before the end of the Congress and that it contains a number of disability-related improvements.

Housing
The House of Representatives passed the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act (S. 1481) Tuesday, allowing it to be sent to the President to be signed into law!  This groundbreaking legislation will modernize the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program by:

  • Modernizing and simplifying the capital advance program for non-profit sponsors;
  • Integrating supportive housing for people with disabilities into larger multi-family affordable rental housing developments;
  • Protecting an existing tenant-based program targeted to people with disabilities; and
  • Creating an innovative subsidy approach that will allow states and localities to leverage additional capital funds for the creation of new units of supportive housing.
Section 811 provides critically important affordable housing linking with community-based supportive services for the most vulnerable people with disabilities.  The reformed program will develop thousands more units of supportive housing every year and, for the first time, create integrated supportive housing units within affordable housing properties.

 

Disability Policy Seminar: New Champions Needed!
Register today for the 2011 Disability Policy Seminar at www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org! Early registration ends 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 provides you with all the information you need to be an advocate for yourself or the people and programs you represent.  Join 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, and visit your representatives on Capitol Hill!  For more information, see the seminar event page or email kmusheno@aucd.org.

 

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