AUCD Legislative News In Brief

September 6, 2011

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  September 6, 2011   |  Vol. XI, Issue 36
  
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Congressional Schedule
Congress returns from summer recess this week.  Attention will be on economic affairs with the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction meeting on Thursday morning to organize, and President Obama addressing a joint session of Congress on his plan to develop jobs that evening.  The House and Senate are also planning to mark up annual appropriations bills for FY 2012.  The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will mark up the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (S. 1094) and the Children's Medical Education bill (S. 958) on Wednesday (see below). 

FY 2012 Appropriations
Congress has yet to complete the 12 annual spending bills for fiscal year 2012, which begins in less than a month on October 1.  With only about 12 legislative working days left before that date, Congress will likely have to pass a "stop-gap" bill, or continuing resolution, to keep the government running while lawmakers try to come to agreement on federal spending for the year.  The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet tomorrow afternoon to adopt overall budget numbers for FY 2012 which will be used to draft the 12 annual spending bills in the Senate.  These "allocations" will be based on the $1.043 trillion cap for federal discretionary spending established by the Budget Control Act.  That cap is $7 billion below current (FY 2011) levels.  The House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to mark up its appropriations bill Friday, September 9.  Recent reports indicate that the House will also start with the $1.043 trillion cap to develop its allocations.  Most likely, Congress will wrap up the FY 2012 appropriations process by combining some or all of the appropriations bills together in an omnibus spending bill later this year.

FY 2013 Budget
The
Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction created by the Budget Control Act will hold its first in-person meeting on Thursday, and its first hearing on September 13.  Both meetings will be open to the public and the press.  The Joint Committee has until November 23 to come up with legislation to cut the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next ten years.  It can consider spending cuts, revenue increases and reforms to entitlement programs to achieve the savings.  Congress then has until December 23 to use a fast-track process to pass the Committee's legislation.  If it fails to do so, it must use the regular legislative process to achieve the $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction in order to avoid automatic across-the-board cuts in domestic and defense spending starting in 2013. 

AUCD signed onto a letter, signed by 532 national organizations, urging Congressional appropriators to protect health, education, job training, children's and social services programs.  The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities also drafted a letter to the Joint Select Committee urging a transparent, balanced approach to deficit reduction and protection of programs that serve individuals with disabilities.  AUCD is also cosponsoring a "Rally for Real Medicaid Reform" on Wednesday, September 21.  The rally is being led by ADAPT and is cosponsored by over 40 disability, aging and civil rights organizations. 

Combating Autism Reauthorization Act
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will mark up the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (
S. 1094) tomorrow, September 7.  AUCD continues to meet with members of the House and Senate to advocate for the bipartisan legislation, which would simply extend the Combating Autism Act of 2006 for three years at current funding levels.  There are now 63 cosponsors of the House bill (HR 2005) and 25 co-sponsors of the Senate bill.  However, we need many more. This legislation is facing major hurdles in the House of Representatives; and so far, no markup has been scheduled for the House companion bill, but AUCD is hopeful that broad Senate support will encourage the House to act.  Please visit AUCD's Action Center for tools you can use to encourage your members of Congress to support quick movement on these bills before the law expires on September 30.  If your Representative is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, it is particularly important to educate him/her about the impact of this law in your state and the country.  For more information, or to report on your contact with members of Congress, email Kim Musheno at kmusheno@aucd.org.

Education
The U.S. Department of Education today announced the release of the final regulations for the early intervention program under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The final regulations incorporate in the 2004 amendments to Part C of IDEA.  A pre-publication copy is posted at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/news.html. According to the Department's press release, "The regulations focus on measuring and improving outcomes for the approximately 350,000 children served by the Part C program with the goal of ensuring that such children are ready for preschool and kindergarten."

White House Disability Calls
Each month, White House staff who work on disability-related policies host a public, live-captioned conference call to keep the public better informed about important developments on many different disability issues. These calls also connect you to leaders in the federal government who work on these issues.  The White House is now offering the opportunity for you to suggest topics for these calls. Send in your ideas about subjects for discussion, as well as the federal officials you'd like to hear from on these subjects, by visiting https://www.disability.gov/WHQuestion.

 

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms.

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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