AUCD Legislative News In Brief

February 24, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
 
  February 24, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 8
  
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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are both in session this week. The Senate will vote on a number of judicial nominees.

Budget & Appropriations

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (see December 16 In Brief) set the top line discretionary funding level (known as the 302(a) allocation) at $1.014 trillion for the coming fiscal year (FY15) and cleared the way for appropriators to move forward in making the 302(b) sub-allocations to the 12 subcommittees. Following this action, each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees then divvy up the funding between the agencies and programs within their respective jurisdictions. The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education subcommittees provide funding for much of the AUCD network programs.

Each year, the Committee on Education Funding, the Coalition for Health Funding, and the Campaign to Invest in America's Workforce partner to circulate a letter throughout our respective communities in support of strong 302(b) allocations for the House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee.  AUCD has signed the letter, which urges appropriators to provide the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittees an allocation of $163.6 billion in FY 2015, equal to the FY 2010 pre-sequestration level. The letter also urges Congress to replace future sequestration with a balanced, meaningful approach to deficit reduction. The size of the allocation has very important implications for AUCD network funding.

President's Budget

The President's Budget for the 2015 fiscal year is scheduled to be released next week. According to sources within the Administration, overall funding levels will be published on March 4 with more details about program funding levels being delayed until the following week. Early reports indicate that the President will call for an "end to the era of austerity" and seek renewed funding for domestic spending; reports also indicated that the President will not propose the reduction in Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (using the "chained CPI") that was included in his budget last year.

The President's Budget is supposed to come out the first week of February and mark the beginning of the budgeting process; however, partisan disagreement over FY14 spending delayed its release this year. Congress has also already set the funding levels for FY15 (see previous section), changing the typical process. However, the President's Budget is an important indication of the administration's priorities and AUCD will release an analysis when the budget and funding tables become available. This will be the first time that final FY13 and FY14 figures will be available for AUCD to analyze and compare to current spending.

Combating Autism Act

AUCD and its partners within the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) are setting up Hill meetings over the next few weeks to urge the Congress to reauthorize the Combating Autism Act (CAA), a top priority for the organization this year.  The CAA will expire if it is not reauthorized by September 30, 2014. While a number of federal ASD efforts were in existence prior to the Combating Autism Act, the law has dramatically increased the number, scope, pace, and coordination of ASD research, surveillance, public education, and professional training efforts.  CCD will share a new congressionally mandated report that describes the work being done through activities supported by federal agencies and highlights the progress that has been made under the CAA. 

AUCD's LEND trainees have formed a special interest group to follow the reauthorization and to provide analyses on the positive impacts of the Combating Autism Act on individuals and families.  The group has almost 50 participants from 22 LEND programs and is meeting monthly to get updates and training on policy research and analysis directly from AUCD policy staff.  For more information and to join the group, please contact Kim Musheno at kmusheno@aucd.org.

Higher Education

On Feb. 27, the Senate Health, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), will hold a hearing/roundtable titled "Promoting College Access and Success for Students with Disabilities."  Two of the witnesses will represent the Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID): Liz Getzel , Director of Postsecondary Education Initiatives, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; and Will Farrior, a student at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.  All of the witnesses are listed on the committee website. TPSID are U.S. Dept. of ED grants to institutions of higher education to create or expand high quality, inclusive model comprehensive transition and postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities.  The TPSID programs are within the Higher Education Act, which is up for reauthorization.

Disability Policy Seminar

Deadline for hotel rooms for the 2014 Disability Policy Seminar has been extended to match the early registration deadline of March 7. Book now to ensure these special rates! A preliminary schedule of events is online. Make sure to schedule hill visits for Wednesday, April 9. Please call to make the appointments before you arrive. AUCD and AAIDD will again host an orientation to the policy seminar on Tuesday, March 11 at 3:00 p.m. ET. This is a good time to ask more questions about the issues and the event.

7 Reasons You Are Absolutely Required to Educate Policymakers.

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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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