Disability Policy News In Brief

June 22, 2015

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June 22, 2015   |   Vol. XV, Issue 25
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FY 2016 Appropriations

The House Appropriations Committee will mark up the fiscal 2016 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill that was passed by the subcommittee last week.  The bill includes $153 billion in discretionary funding, which is a $3.7 billion reduction from fiscal 2015 enacted levels and $14.6 billion below the President 's budget request.

The Committee posted a link to the text of the bill and the committee summary.  Unfortunately, the bill does not include line-by-line details; therefore, we will likely not know the specific funding amounts for AUCD network programs until after the full committee markup.  The summary includes the following related to our network funding:


  • Administration for Community Living (ACL) - The bill funds ACL at $1.9 billion, which is $261 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $161 million below the President's budget request.
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) The bill includes over $6 billion for HRSA - $299 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $413 million below the President's budget request.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) - The bill provides a total $31.2 billion for the NIH, $1.1 billion above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $100 million above the President's budget request. Within this funding, the legislation includes $165 million to support activities for the National Children's Study, $480.6 million for Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards, and $311.8 million for Institutional Development Awards (IDEA) programs.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - The legislation includes a total of $7 billion for the CDC - $140 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and equal to the budget request. This includes $6.1 billion in appropriated funds, as well as $914.3 million in transfers from the Prevention and Public Health (PPH) Fund.

Some of the losers in the bill are the Affordable Care Act (the bill rescinds prior year mandatory funding and bars use of any new discretionary funding to implement the ACA), family planning, and some education program that are cut or eliminated. The House has now completed six of the 12 annual appropriations bills for the fiscal year that begins on October 1.


Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bob Casey (D-PA) have introduced the Transition to Independence Act (S.1604).  This bill would create a demonstration project to encourage states to improve employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The bill would create a five-year, 10-state demonstration program using increased Medicaid funding as an incentive to states for helping individuals with disabilities achieve the goals of working and living in the community.  The bill encourages cross department coordination of health services, housing, education and workforce training, and transportation.  See the technical summary for more details.


AUCD joined it's DD Act Partners; the National Disability Rights Network and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities in comments to the Department of Labor in regard to the Notice of Propose Rule Making for State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program, State Supported Employment Services Program; Limitations of Subminimum Wage.  AUCD also joined the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities on comments focused on the unified combined state plans performance accountability, the one-stop system joint provisions, as well as Title IV. AUCD also supported the comments submitted by the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD) which focused on Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, especially in relation to transition services.


AUCD submitted comments to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission opposing the proposed rule related to prevention and wellness programs and its impact on people with disabilities.   AUCD also signed on to a letter, prepared by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, opposing the proposed rule that would narrow the protection of rights for people with disabilities in the workplace afforded to them by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Both letters express an disagreement with the EEOC's redefinition of "voluntary" which would allow employers to penalize employees up to 30% the cost of their entire health insurance cost if they refuse to answer questions related to their health status. The result could be a direct monetary penalty to the worker refusing to answer questions or submit to an exam of upwards of $1,800 a year given the current cost of health insurance for an individual

AUCD joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR),and more than 30 national organizations in a letter to the full Senate in anticipation of Senate mark-up of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (S.1177).  This letter reiterates the four major areas of concern that were not addressed in the committee-passed bill: 1.) the bill does not hold states and schools accountable for meeting the academic needs of all students; 2) there is no requirement that school districts equitably distribute resources 3.) the data collection process needs to be stronger/ more transparent including cross-tabulation and disaggregation of data by subgroups and; 4) the federal role must be restored so that the Secretary of Education can adequately review state plans and monitor state actions. If these issues are not addressed in markup it's unlikely that the disability or the civil rights community will support it. The Senate is expected to take up the bill following the July recess.  The House has still not passed its bill to reauthorize ESEA.


AUCD signed on to a disability and aging coalition letter to the Senate Finance Committee's request for input on policy initiatives to facilitate the delivery of high-quality care for people with Medicare living with multiple chronic conditions.  The letter proposed polices to increase care coordination among individual providers across care setting, policies to streamline payment systems to incentives appropriate care, and polices to facilitate the delivery of high quality care.

The Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA), will hold a joint hearing with the Subcommittee on Nutrition of the House Committee on Agriculture. The two subcommittees will discuss the effectiveness of multiple welfare programs in conjunction with one another. Chairman Boustany is prepared to present evidence that although these welfare programs do assist they can also discourage work for many because of complicated tax rates it is often not beneficial for some people to seek more work.

NIH Research
The AUCD recently signed on to a coalition letter in support of the 21st Century Cures Act (HR6) which aims to expedite the process from discovery to development of treatment, provide additional funding for the National Institute of Health and Food and Drug Administration along with improving innovation for the future.   The 21st Century Cures Act has 171 bipartisan cosponsors and the Energy and Commerce committee voted 51-0 to advance the bill.  The committee has also released a fact sheet on the bill. 


On June 10, 2015, TASH published an article, Guardianship and the Potential of Supported Decision Making with Individuals with Disabilities, in their member journal.  Jameson et al (2015) found that full guardianship is the most common recommendation from school and adult services personnel, compared to supported decision-making.  As law and policy support self-determination and community integration, it is important to consider the long-term implications of full guardianship on persons with disabilities.  TASH and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recommend that full guardianship be a last resort, and that future policy and research focus on strategies to promote supported decision making for persons with disabilities.  These findings advocate for less restrictive options and more support for persons with disabilities that afford a self-determined life.   For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For more policy news, follow Kim on Twitter at @kmusheno

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



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