AUCD Legislative News In Brief

June 30, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
   June 30, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 26
Subscribe to AUCD InBrief  |  AUCD InBrief Archive  | RSS  |  AUCD InBrief Twitter

Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are both in recess this week for the July 4th holiday. Recess is a good time to engage with Members of Congress regarding disability policy while they are at home and participating in holiday events. There are several issues that are critical stages in the federal legislative process, including the reauthorization of the Combating Autism and Workforce Investment Acts, as well as the Disability Treaty. For more information about these and other critical legislative issues this year, please see AUCD's interactive action center.

Autism CARES Act

Congress came close but failed to finish work on the reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act last week. The House of Representatives passed the bill (HR 4631) on Tuesday, June 24. On the next day, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the bill (S 2449) by a voice vote, sending it straight to the floor under a unanimous consent agreement. Unfortunately, several Senators asked for time to review the bill, so the process was delayed. Hopefully, the bill will be taken up as soon as Congress returns from its one week recess. AUCD urges network members and allies to contact Senators over the recess to ensure that they understand the importance of this legislation. See AUCD's action center for more information (and AUCD press release). Thanks to those of you who have already taken the time to educate Members. Please also thank your Representative is h/she is one of the 86 sponsors of the bill. The Senate bill now has 10 co-sponsors.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

AUCD is very pleased to report that the Senate passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA, HR 803) by a strong bipartisan vote of 95-3 (Senators Coburn (R-OK), Lee (R-UT), and Johnson (R-WI) voted against). This bill will reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act and increase employment opportunities and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. With a bipartisan, bicameral agreement in place, it is expected that the House will take up the bill soon after the July recess. Please contact your Representatives over the recess and urge them to take action on the bill soon. See the AUCD Action Alert for more information.

Community Living

Community Integration Act

Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee introduced the Community Integration Act (S. 2515) on the same day the committee held a roundtable hearing on "Moving Toward Greater Inclusion" as part of the activities commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Supreme Court Olmstead decision (watch a video of the hearing on the committee website). The bill would eliminate the institutional bias in Medicaid by requiring the option of home or community-based services (HCBS) for anyone who requires an "institutional level of care" The bill is based on the findings of the HELP Committee's July 2013 report: Separate and Unequal: States Fail to Fulfill the Community Living Promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Home and Community-Based Settings

The DD Network partners - AUCD, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, and National Disability Rights Network - wrote to Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Director Cindy Mann last week expressing appreciation for the new home and community-based services (HCBS) rule and expressing some concerns regarding implementation. The letter makes four requests of CMS: a strong message about requirements for stakeholder engagement, additional guidance (especially for non-residential settings), consistency between federal and regional offices, and additional transparency about the approval process for transition plans.   


Last week, Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan announced that for the first time, the U.S. Department of Education will include the performance of students with disabilities on state and national assessments as part of determining state compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Previous assessments focused on process and compliance, rather than student outcomes. 41 states met the standards when the Department reviewed compliance only. However, when the department incorporated student performance that number dropped to 18. The new outcome-oriented standards include student performance on grade-level content and proficiency gaps between students with and without disabilities. Read more on the blog.


A bipartisan group of Representatives have introduced the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids (ACE Kids) Act (H.R. 4930). The bill would create a Medicaid and CHIP state plan option to provide coordinate care for children with complex conditions through a new Medicaid and CHIP Coordinated Care (MCCC) program. The MCCCs would operate through regional Children's Hospital networks and are intended to coordinate and ease accessing car across state lines. The Children's Hospital Association supports the legislation.

Social Security

As part of Senate Finance Committee work to address a coming shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, Senator Thune (R-SD) introduced two amendments that would have ended concurrent receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Unemployment Insurance (UI). Disability advocates have worked against this change in the past, but it is becoming a popular "pay-for" to offset costs of legislation, even legislation that is not related to disability or employment (like the Highway Trust Fund). The committee recessed without a vote and plans to take up the bill again when they return from recess. AUCD and the CCD Social Security Task Force continue to monitor the Thune amendments and other proposals. Learn more about concurrent DI/UI benefits on this CCD fact sheet. To take action, see AUCD's Action Alert.

White House Forum on LGBT & Disability Issues

AUCD was represented at a first-of-its-kind White House forum meant to gather input and share information regarding issues and concerns of people with disabilities who also happen to identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).  After opening remarks by Chai Feldblum, EEOC Commissioner, a federal panel with representation from the Departments of ED, HHS, DOJ, and the White House gave an overview of federal initiatives addressing the needs of this population.  A panel of youth with disabilities and LGBT share personal experiences and strategies for overcoming challenges.  Closing remarks were given by Dylan Orr, Chief of Staff to Assistance Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez.

Restraint and Seclusion

National Public Radio (NPR) and its public interest investigative journalism affiliate ProPublica ran stories last week about the widespread use of restraint and seclusion. Both stories focus on the experience of a student in Virginia who was badly injured from restraint and seclusion, and include information on the lack of state laws, the Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2036/H.R.1893), the work of Senator Harkin (D-IA) and Congressman Miller (D-CA), Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports, and local Protection & Advocacy systems.


Follow AUCD on Facebook and Twitter
Follow our Executive Director @AndyAUCD and policy staff @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:

AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910