AUCD Legislative News In Brief

July 1, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  July 1, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 26
  
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Congressional Schedule

Both chambers are in recess for the July Fourth holiday. They will return Monday, July 8. Recess offers a good time to "run into" or set up meetings with your Members of Congress while they are at home.  Please consider taking the opportunity to speak to your Members during holiday parades, community picnics, or during religious gatherings.  There are many topics to choose from, including damaging budget cuts, health reform, education, transition, employment, and the Disability Treaty, just to name a few.  Feel free to browse AUCD's Legislative Priorities for the 113th Congress for more information.

 Immigration Reform

The Senate passed the "Boarder Security Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act" (S. 744) on a vote of 68-32 after months of negotiations led by eight bipartisan lawmakers. The bill is intended to provide approximately 11 million illegal immigrants the opportunity to earn citizenship. The Senate Judiciary panel considered over 200 amendments during its markup in May.  AUCD supported several amendments that would have addressed the needs of immigrants with disabilities, including access to legal counsel in removal proceedings for vulnerable populations and how to treat unaccompanied children and individuals with intellectual disabilities. Unfortunately, these amendments failed. Earlier in the week, the Senate passed a border security amendment by 69-29 to S. 744. The amendment would, among other things, increase funding for border security personnel, technology and fencing.  The border amendment was important to securing enough bipartisan support for the measure to pass the Senate.

 The next step is for the House to take action, where its future is still uncertain. The House is taking a piecemeal approach to immigration reform. It is also unclear whether the House intends to take up legislation that would create a path to citizenship.  So far, the Judiciary Committee has passed four separate bills (H.R. 1773, 1772, 2278, and 211).  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) recently stated that he would not act on the Senate-passed immigration bill without first knowing that he as support from the majority of his caucus.

 Disability Treaty

AUCD continues to work with national allies to garner additional support for the Disability Treaty (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).  The good news is that Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) has just announced his support for the Treaty.  The bad news is that we have heard that Senate offices are getting more calls from constituents opposing the Treaty than those supporting it.  Since Senators are elected officials, they take these numbers seriously.  CCD member organizations, including AUCD, sent action alerts to its networks urging supporters to make their voices heard.  For more information, feel free to email kmusheno@aucd.org, see AUCD's policy page or take action through the AUCD action center.

 Appropriations

At some point before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, Congress will have to agree on fiscal 2014 spending levels, which may or may not be subject to automatic cuts, depending on whether Congress modifies the sequester included in the 2011 deficit reduction law.

 House and Senate appropriators are currently marking up FY 2014 spending bills using different overall discretionary limits.  The Senate uses a top line of $1.058 trillion and the House uses a lower $967 billion. Although the $967 billion matches the overall level of spending allowed under sequester, the House budget resolution allocates $552 billion for defense spending - $54 billion more than the defense cap in the sequester permits. This means if Congress passes appropriations bills at the House-adopted, $552 billion defense level, defense spending would be subject to automatic, across-the-board-cuts - unless lawmakers also include a provision to modify the sequester. If spending bills are passed at the Senate-recommended levels, both defense and domestic spending would be subject to cuts.

 Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) has been pressing House leaders to agree to a conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate budget resolutions for next year, even though many doubt that the two sides can reach a compromise. House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said he won't go to conference until he and Murray agree on a "framework" that would increase chances of success. Ryan and Murray have met several times to discuss a framework, most recently last week.  AUCD continues to press Members to work on a balanced approach to deficit reduction that replaces the sequester.

Education

AUCD signed onto a Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities letter to President Obama stating ongoing concerns regarding the use of an Alternate Assessment based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS) as currently allowed under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act regulation at §200.1(e). This regulation has been of significant concern to CCD members since it was first proposed in in 2005. The letter urges the Administration to propose regulations that formally end the AA-MAS and provide technical assistance to states regarding transitioning students from the AA-MAS to general assessments.

New Resource on Costs of Abuse and Neglect

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers published a study that found that child maltreatment costs Medicaid an estimated $5.9 billion per year.  The study is the first ever estimate of the effect of child maltreatment on health care spending.  In 2008, U.S. state and local CPS received more than 3 million reports of children being abused or neglected. An estimated 772,000 children were classified as being maltreated and 1,740 children aged 0 to 17 died from abuse and neglect in 2008.  AUCD has long advocated for prevention programs that reduce the impact of maltreatment.  Prevention strategies include supporting caregivers, teaching positive parenting skills, improving parent-child relationships, and providing parents with social support. For more information on CDC's work in preventing child maltreatment, please visit www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childmaltreatment


For more policy news, follow Kim and Rachel on Twitter at @kmusheno and @racheljpat

 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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