AUCD Legislative News In Brief

August 4, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
   August 4, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 31
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Congressional Schedule

The August recess started on Friday and will continue until the second week of September. The long August recess is an excellent time to get in touch with your members of Congress about important issues, like the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ABLE Act, and appropriations.

Autism CARES Act

The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Supports Act, or Autism CARES Act (S. 2449) passed in the Senate by unanimous consent late on the night of July 31. The bill had been held up by several Senators who had questions or concerns, but these concerns were worked out without any amendments that would have required the House to take further action. The House passed a companion bill (H.R. 4631) on June 25 and President Obama is expected to sign it soon. The bill reauthorizes the Combating Autism Act of 2011 for five years, changes the title of the law and makes other small improvements. See AUCD press release for more information. Thanks to all of you who helped Members of Congress understand the accomplishments of the law and the need for ongoing support for research, training, education, and supports for people with ASD and other developmental disabilities.

Disability Treaty

AUCD staff joined advocates from around the country to rally on the national mall in support of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), directly following a rally as part of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) conference. Two weeks ago, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the treaty (see last week's In Brief).  Disability advocates continue to encourage their Senators to ratify the treaty when they return from recess in September. For more information visit


The House Ways and Means committee marked-up the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647) on July 31. The amended bill was favorably reported by voice vote to the full House. The Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute offered by Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) makes moderate changes generally in line with other US tax provisions, including limiting ABLE contributions to annual gift tax income exclusion limits ($14,000 in 2014), maintaining the purpose of the bill - to create tax preferred savings accounts that allow people with disabilities to save money while maintaining access to Medicaid and SSI. Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) agreed that they will work together to find a bipartisan offset of the cost of the bill, an estimated $2 billion over 10 years according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.


Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) introduced last week the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2014 (HR. 5294).  HEAA was formally introduced by Congresswoman Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the bill's lead sponsor and the Chair of the CHC Health Task Force, with 64 original co-sponsors.  HEAA focuses on health disparities and builds on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by providing federal resources, policies, and infrastructure to eliminate health disparities in all populations, regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration status, age, ability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or English proficiency. The bill includes people with disabilities as a population experiencing health disparities and AUCD supports the bill. Watch Congresswoman Roybal-Allard introduce the bill.


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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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