AUCD Legislative News In Brief

September 8, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
    September 8, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 36
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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate both return to the Capitol this week, following the August recess. With just 12 legislative days scheduled in the House and 15 in the Senate before the election, Congress has a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. First on the agenda will be a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep funding federal activities (see more below), followed by votes on the Export-Import Bank, efforts to fight terrorism, unemployment insurance, immigration, and campaign finance. For more on the agenda, see this piece from The New York Times. AUCD continues to urge Congress to take action on the Disability Treaty, the ABLE Act, and behavioral health access for military families before it adjourns.


The House is likely to take up a continuing resolution (CR) this week, according to a spokesman for the new House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). The stopgap measure is needed because none of the 12 annual spending bills have been signed into law for the new fiscal year that begins on October 1. The CR is expected to extend fiscal 2014 spending levels through mid-December.  This means that a "lame-duck" Congress will have to finalize the annual spending bills following the November mid-term elections. Alternately, congressional leaders may decide to pass another short-term CR and let the new Congress make final spending decisions for FY 2015 in January. AUCD has been advocating for the Congress to pass the Labor, HHS, Education spending bill in regular order. The Senate L-HHS-ED bill that passed the subcommittee would have provided a $1 million increase to the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, among other increases in disability program spending.

Home and Community-Based Services

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have released the latest document in their toolkit to help states implement the final Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) rule released in January of this year. The Statewide Transition Plan Toolkit for Alignment with the HCBS Final Regulation's Settings Requirements provides information on the content and process of the transition plan required from each state. This guidance, other information from CMS, and the status of state progress in implementing the rule are all available on

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities sent a letter to CMS Deputy Administrator Cindy Mann regarding implementation of the regulations and including a number of ideas, concern, and recommendations to improve implementation and best address the needs of people with disabilities during this transition. AUCD took a lead in drafting and signed on to the letter.

Complex Rehabilitation Technology

AUCD signed on to a Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities letter supporting bipartisan legislation to improve access to complex rehabilitation technology (CRT) in the Medicare program for beneficiaries with disabilities. CRT includes individually configured manual and power wheelchairs,, adaptive seating systems, alternative positioning systems, and other specialized equipment. The Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act (S. 948/H.R. 942) would create a separate Medicare benefit category for CRT exempt from Medicare's "in the home" restriction (which only covers mobility devices used in the home).


One disability-related bill that could see action in the next two weeks before Congress adjourns is the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act, H.R. 647/ S. 313). With 379 cosponsors in the House and 74 cosponsors in the Senate, this bill has broad and bipartisan support. Because of this broad support, advocates hope that House and Senate will pass the bill quickly and unanimously. However, House and Senate committee staff are still working on bipartisan agreement on how to pay for the costs related to the law's provisions. To contact your Member of Congress about this bill, use AUCD's Action Center.


As part of its ongoing Champions of Change initiative, the White House is seeking nominations for leaders in disability employment who have worked to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Nominees may include small business owners or managers who have led efforts to hire workers with disabilities; entrepreneurs with significant disabilities who are now employing others; leaders within companies or organizations who have disclosed hidden disabilities and have initiated efforts to educate others about the employment of people with disabilities; public/private partnerships that have developed effective collaborative initiatives focused on increasing competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities; and any other leaders who work to ensure that individuals with disabilities can succeed in good jobs and careers. Nominations are due Sunday, September 14, 2014.


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For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms.
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