AUCD Legislative News In Brief

January 3, 2011

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  January 3, 2011   |  Vol. XI, Issue 1
  
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Congressional Schedule
Happy New Year! Neither the House nor the Senate is in session today.  The new 112th Congress will be sworn in this Wednesday, January 5. 

FY 2011 Appropriations
Before adjourning, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to continue funding government programs at the current FY 2010 levels until March 4.  House Republicans who are now in the majority are hoping to push through a number of "rescissions" that reverse funding that was already approved but not spent.  The first target is the remaining unspent stimulus money, of which there is only about $16 billion left.  Thus, a significant amount has to come from cutting into domestic programs.  Republican leaders have been pushing for a reduction in non-security discretionary spending to 2008 levels, which would require an immediate cut of about 20 percent, or about $100 billion this year.  While it would be tough for the House to push such significant cuts through the Senate, discretionary programs might face some cuts or at least a year-long CR with level funding.

FY 2012 Budget
The White House has pushed back the expected date for submitting its annual budget request to Congress to the week of February 14, about a week later than its traditional target date.  The delay is partly a result of the long wait for the confirmation of Jacob Lew, the new director of the Office of Management and Budget, and partly due to the failure of Congress to make final budget decisions before the end of the year. 

112th Congress
As the new Congress begins, each chamber will vote on its own procedural rules.  Republican leaders recently revealed their proposed changes to House rules, some of which would circumvent traditional procedure and give individual lawmakers a lot of power.  One proposed rule would give the House Budget Committee Chairman, expected to be Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the power to set spending levels for FY 2011 in the Congressional Record without a vote.  The rule is of concern to many congressional members, as well as the public.  The levels set by the chairman, while binding in the House, would have no authority in the Senate.  Another rule would replace the "pay as you go" rule, which requires offsets for new entitlement spending (such as Social Security and Medicaid) or tax cuts, with a "cut as you go" rule requiring offsets for new spending only (which means that tax cuts would not need to be paid for).

Health Care Reform
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said this weekend that Republicans would hold a vote on repealing the health care reform law before the end of January.  Upton further speculated that the House could reach the two-thirds threshold to overturn a likely presidential veto.  Full repeal is still considered unlikely, however, because Democrats still have a majority in the Senate and the President can veto any bill that passes Congress.

Meanwhile, several new provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect at the start of the New Year.  For example, starting this month, health insurers must spend at least 80 percent of their premiums on medical care or face the possibility of giving rebates to consumers.  For more information, see detailed explanations of Nine Ways the New Law May Affect You in 2011, published by Kaiser Health News.  Health reform implementation will be a focus of the upcoming Disability Policy Seminar (see Disability Policy Seminar below).

Child Abuse & Neglect
The Department of Health and Human Services recently released 2009 child abuse and neglect report data in Child Maltreatment 2009.  The report compiles national data about child abuse and neglect known to child protective service (CPS) agencies in the U.S., collected and analyzed through the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS).  The report finds that an estimated 3.3 million referrals of possible child abuse and neglect were made to state CPS agencies in the U.S. in 2009, and almost two-thirds of the referrals were accepted by CPS for an investigation or assessment, resulting in an estimated 702,000 children found to be victims of child abuse and neglect.  Children reported as having a disability accounted for 11 percent of victims, but children with this risk factor are generally undercounted because not every child receives a clinical diagnostic assessment from CPS agency staff.  This is the third year that the number of victims has decreased, however it is difficult to tell whether the decrease is a trend until more data are collected. 

Disability Policy Seminar: Early Registration Ends January 11!
The Seminar is coming early this year - don't miss your chance to join hundreds of disability advocates and activists for an informative three-day seminar culminating in visits to your Senators and Representatives in Washington! The Seminar takes place February 14-16 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC.  Register today at
www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org! Make hotel reservations by Jan. 11 online or call 1-888-421-1442.  Registering early will save you $80 and get you a discounted hotel room at the most convenient location.  This year you can attend a special event honoring disability policy legend Paul Marchand and help establish the Paul Marchand Fellowship Fund for the future of disability policy.  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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