AUCD Legislative News In Brief

November 24, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
    November 24, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 46
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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are in recess for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will return on Monday, December 1 for two weeks of legislative action. In those two weeks, Congress must take action before December 11 to continue funding for government operations. According to Appropriations Chairman Rogers, the House and Senate staff are working on putting together an omnibus appropriations bill that will roll all 12 annual funding bills into one.


President Obama announced an executive order to make reforms to the U.S. immigration system. 

AUCD staff joined other members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities International Task Force at a White House meeting to discuss the reforms and provide input into reforms needed to protect individuals with disabilities and families. CCD provided input related to issues of equal access to citizenship, medical repatriation, support and access in immigration and custom enforcement facilities (ICE), and the provision of attorney representation, among other issues. Learn more about the President's action on

Appropriations Committee 

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) has announced the subcommittee chairs for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees. For the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee, Tom Cole (R-OK) will replace Jack Kingston (R-GA). Other key chairs include Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) for the Transportation-HUD subcommittee, John Culberson (R-TX) for Commerce-Justice-Science, and Charlie Dent (R-PA) for Military Construction-VA. The Senate has not yet made announcements for the selection of its appropriations chairs.

Energy and Commerce Committee

Returning Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) announced subcommittee chairs for this wide-ranging committee. Joe Pitts (R-PA) will chair the Health subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over Medicaid, with Brett Guthrie (R-KY) as vice chair. Tim Murphy (R-PA) will chair Oversight and Investigations, with David McKinely (R-WV) as vice chair. For more chairs, see the Chairman's announcement.

Higher Education

On November 20, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Higher Education Affordability Act (S. 2954), a bill to reauthorize and improve the Higher Education Act.  The bill is focused on affordability and accountability but also puts major emphasis on providing more opportunities for students with disabilities in the following ways:

  • Reauthorizing and expanding the Transition Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) to encourage more programs for students with intellectual disabilities at institutions and to better disseminate the information learned by institutions about the development and operation of programs for students with intellectual disabilities at the post-secondary level
  • Creating two national technical assistance centers. One to help high school students with disabilities and their families to identify schools that support the needs of students with disabilities and another to help institutions better provide the physical, program, and instructional accommodations to support students with disabilities
  • Creating a national data center to collect information about the recruitment, retention, graduation, and employment of students with disabilities related to their higher education participation
  • Requiring institutions to ensure their instructional materials are accessible to students with disabilities
  • Creating post-secondary programs for students who are deaf-blind in order to develop the accommodations necessary to better serve this group of students
  • Creating a commission to collect information about the current needs and experiences of students with psychiatric disabilities to improve recruitment, retention and support for this population

The bill was referred to the HELP Committee. With so few days left in this Congress and no similar House companion bill, it is unlikely that the bill will be passed before adjournment; however, AUCD strongly supports the bill and will be advocating for its reintroduction in the new Congress.


Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced several changes to, including a new home page and expanded state Medicaid and CHIP profiles that summarize Marketplace, CHIP, and Medicaid for each state including state plan amendments, demonstrations, and waivers. These changes should improve access to information on state Medicaid, Marketplace, and CHIP programs.

Child Care

Last week, the Senate passed the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (S. 1086), a bill to reauthorize the CCDBG for the first time since 1996. The bill makes improvements to meeting the needs of children with disabilities, including requiring states to explain how they will meet their needs; and ensuring that block grant provisions are coordinated with IDEA programs. Child care funding includes $2.3 billion in annual appropriations as well as $2.9 billion mandatory funding for child care included in Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF). See more in last week's In Brief.

Social Security

The Social Security Administration's National Disability Coalition has launched a new engagement opportunity through their IdeaScale site. Through December 19, the public are invited to answer the question "Given the advances in medicine, health care delivery, technology, and the world of work, how can we better ensure we identify individuals with medical improvement at the earliest opportunity?"  AUCD network members are encouraged to provide input.

AUCD Annual Conference

If you had meetings at Capitol Hill offices during the AUCD annual meeting, don't forget to complete our Hill Visit Follow Up Survey. Just a few moments to report on your visit can help us leverage the contacts you made and amplify AUCD's voice on the hill. Thank you to everyone who has already reported on their visit!


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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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