AUCD Legislative News In Brief

January 23, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  January 23, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 4
  
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Congressional Schedule
The House and Senate will meet in a joint session Tuesday evening for President Obama's State of the Union address.  Also on Tuesday, selected members from both chambers will meet for the first time to work out their differences over a bill to extend the Social Security payroll tax holiday; the current extension expires on February 29.  The House on Wednesday takes up a bill to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program, a long-term care program created by the 2010 health care overhaul (see CLASS Act below).  The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a second hearing on the Social Security Disability Insurance program (See Social Security/DI below).

CLASS Act
The House Ways and Means Committee approved last week H.R. 1173, a bill to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, on a nearly party-line
vote of 23-13.  The full House is expected to take up the measure this week.  The bill was introduced by Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA) on March 17 and currently has 110 cosponsors.  A companion bill (S. 720) was introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) on April 4, and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.  It has 42 cosponsors.  The bills have received more attention since the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was suspending implementation of the CLASS program last October.  President Obama has said he does not support repealing the program, and the measure is not likely to gain much traction in the Democrat-controlled Senate.  The CLASS Act creates a national, voluntary insurance program to help people pay for long-term services and supports when they have or develop functional impairments.  Currently, it is the only legislative solution available to solve the growing need for long-term services and supports across the nation.  Please visit AUCD's Action Center to contact your Representative about H.R. 1173.

CDC/National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
AUCD staff participated, along with other disability advocates, in a meeting today with staff of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).  The purpose of the meeting was to provide the history and successes of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and to discuss disability as a public health issue.  The meeting was organized by the
Friends of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), a coalition of approximately 400 disability groups that work with and support the Center.

Social Security/DI
The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a second hearing on the Social Security Disability Insurance program Tuesday.  In December 2011, the Subcommittee began a hearing series focusing on the history of the Disability Insurance (DI) program, the income security it provides, and its financing challenges.  According the subcommittee website, this week's hearing will focus on the SSA's efforts to minimize improper payments and protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse.  In announcing the hearing, Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) said, "Waste, fraud, and abuse in the disability insurance program cheat honest, hardworking American taxpayers.  As we work to secure the future of this program, we need to protect the American taxpayer from con artists who are stealing from the system by making sure benefits are paid only to those who deserve them."  

Social Security/Ticket to Work
The Social Security Administration is sponsoring a National Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) Webinar is this Wednesday, January 25, at 3:00 p.m. EST.  The free webinar is for beneficiaries, or those helping them, to learn more about the Ticket to Work Program or other Social Security work incentives. Register online or email support@chooseworkttw.net.  For more information, call 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY/TDD).  The Ticket to Work program is authorized by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-170).

CCD Annual meeting
The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a coalition of over 100 national disability organizations, held its annual meeting last week.  The purpose of the meeting was to elect board members and officers as well as to organize task forces around key issues.  AUCD staff joined task forces working on fiscal policy, social security, Medicaid and long-term services, education, health, employment, international issues, and civil rights.  Kim Musheno was re-elected to the CCD Board.  Donna Meltzer, CCD Chair, presented an award to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that was accepted by Center Director Bob Greenstein.  CCD members also heard from congressional staff of key committees in the House and Senate on legislative priorities for the year.

2012 Disability Policy Seminar: Registration Now Open!
Registration for the 2012 Disability Policy Seminar is now open.  Plan to join us in Washington, D.C. April 23-25 for the ultimate gathering of advocates for people with disabilities.  This year, we'll be focusing on election-year issues and how to make a difference with grassroots advocacy.  The Seminar begins with two days packed full of educational sessions on critical legislative issues facing the disability community from some of the foremost experts in policy.  It culminates with participants taking their concerns directly to Capitol Hill in meetings with elected representatives.  On March 28, AUCD will host a webinar to help you get the most out of your time in D.C.  Registration for the pre-event Webinar will open soon.  You can register for the Seminar and book your room at The Grand Hyatt now at www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org. Watch for more information about the seminar in upcoming issues of In Brief.

 

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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