AUCD Legislative News In Brief

June 16, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
   June 16, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 24
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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are both in session this week. The House will consider bills related to the appropriations for the Department of Defense and access to care for veterans.


The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education has approved a $156.8 billion FY15 spending bill, level with FY14 funding but higher than the $155.7 billion allocated in the House. The draft measure includes an increase of more than $1 billion for a program at HHS that provides care to unaccompanied child migrants, bringing total funding to $1.94 billion for FY15. The bill also would give the administration expanded transfer authority for the HHS program to deal with urgent needs if the number of unaccompanied children continues to grow rapidly.

While this subcommittee markup is a promising step toward passing a L-HHS-Ed appropriations bill out of both houses of Congress this year, differences in allocations and continued controversy over funding for Affordable Care Act programs will create substantial challenges moving forward. Senator Shelby (R-AL), ranking member of the full Appropriations Committee, has said that he cannot support the current bill, in part because it includes funding for health insurance exchanges. AUCD will continue to educate appropriators about our programs and work with our partners to advocate for a regular order appropriations process and increased funding for network programs.

Combating Autism Reauthorization Act

Late on June 9, Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Enzi (R-WY) introduced S. 2449, a bill to reauthorize the Combating Autism Act. The bill, now called the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act, designates an official within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to oversee implementation of the law, requires a new report from HHS to Congress reviewing and reporting on policies related to transition from high school to post-secondary education and employment, and attention to respite services for families of children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. The House Energy and Commerce Committee marked-up the bill last week, adopting the same version that had been introduced in the Senate. Similar House and Senate bills will help the bill advance more quickly. The full House may act on the bill as soon as this week. Senator sponsors are hoping to markup and pass the bill before the July 4 recess.

Behavioral Health in Military Health Care

Senators Gillibrand (D-NY), Murray (D-WA), Blunt (R-MO), and Rubio (R-FL) have introduced the Caring for Military Children with Developmental Disabilities Act of 2014 (S.2333), a bill to create a permanent medical benefit in TRICARE for behavioral health services (like Applied Behavior Analysis) for children of military families with developmental disabilities. Current TRICARE policies provide a patchwork of coverage through a series of pilots and demonstrations; many children are still denied care or receive less than half of the prescribed treatment. This provision has already passed the House through the National Defense Authorization Act for FY15. AUCD and coalition partners are meeting with Senate offices seeking co-sponsors for the bill.

Children's Health Insurance Program

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care and a key architect of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), introduced last week the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Extension Act of 2014 (S. 2461). Under current law, CHIP funding is set to expire on September 30, 2015. Senator Rockefeller's bill would extend the program through 2019. The American Academy of Pediatrics, March of Dimes, Children's Hospital Association, Children's Dental Health Project, Children's Defense Fund, National Health Law Program and First Focus have all released statements of support. The Georgetown Center for Children and Families has run a series of blog posts about the continued need for CHIP even with the Affordable Care Act insurance coverage expansions.


The Department of Labor has issued a proposed regulation to implement the President's Executive Order 13658, Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors. The order raises the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors, including people with disabilities who may have previously been paid below the minimum wage. The Executive Order directs the Department of Labor to issue regulations to implement the order, establishing standards and procedures for implementing and enforcing the minimum wage protections of Executive Order 13658. The proposed rule incorporates existing definitions, procedures, remedies, and enforcement processes under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Service Contract Act (SCA), and the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA). A comment deadline will be announced when the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.

Health Resources and Services Administration

The Health Resources and Services Administration has announced the creation of a new bureau - the Bureau of Health Workforce. Led by associate administrator Rebecca Spitzgo, the Bureau of Health Workforce will integrate the programs previously administered by the Bureau of Health Professions and the Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service, as well as the Nursing Education Partnership Initiative and Medical Education Partnership Initiative.

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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:



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