Disability Policy News In Brief

November 9, 2015

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November 9, 2015   |   Vol. XV, Issue 46
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Congressional Schedule

The House of Representatives is out for Veterans Day recess; however, the Senate will be in session. It plans to markup one the first of the 12 appropriations bills for FY 2016, the Military-VA funding bill.

Budget and Appropriations

Following the Congressional approval of the budget deal reached last week, lawmakers are preparing to write an omnibus bill combining the 12 annual appropriations funding bills into one. It is hoped that the bill will be passed before the current continuing resolution expires on December 11; however, there is no guarantee that this bill will not attract policy riders that could endanger the bill's passage. AUCD is advocating action without policy riders and for the highest possible funding levels for AUCD network and other disability initiatives within the Labor, HHS, Education funding bill.

Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit

Congress is preparing to renew a package of tax breaks referred to as "tax extenders." Congressional Republicans are eager to make the tax extenders permanent, but the Obama Administration has announced its opposition to any such measure without tax provisions for working families. Supporters of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are hopeful that a bipartisan agreement on improvements can be included with Speaker Ryan's involvement. Lawmakers could attempt to push the business tax extenders and the tax credits through Congress in a number of ways, including the highway funding reauthorization bill (which is due November 20) or the omnibus appropriations bill (which is due December 11). There may also be a separate bill solely focused on renewing business tax extenders for two years. AUCD will continue to monitor this.                                                                                     

House Ways and Means Committee

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) won the internal race to be the next chairman of the Ways and Means Committee last week, succeeding former Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who stepped down last week after he was elected Speaker. Brady announced that his highest priority will be on tax reform.  The Committee also has jurisdiction over Social Security and health care.

Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act

House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus co-chairs Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced the Lifespan Care Reauthorization Act of 2015 on November 3. The bill reauthorizes the Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006 through 2020. The proposed bill authorizes $75 million ($15 million each year through 2020) to start new or develop existing respite programs (the current law is funding at only $2.5 million per year). The bill has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Marketplace Open Enrollment

The Open Enrollment period for 2016 health insurance plans began on November 1 and will continue for three months, ending on January 31. Coverage may begin as early as January for individuals who enroll early, as there is a two-month gap between enrollment and the start of coverage. More information about the timeline for Open Enrollment can be found here.

Montana ACA Medicaid Expansion

Montana became the 30th state to opt into the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) expansion of Medicaid on November 2, when the Obama Administration approved a plan put forward by the state's Republican-controlled legislature in April. The plan, created as a compromise between the administration and critics of the ACA in Montana, expands Medicaid eligibility up to 138 percent of poverty (approximately $33,000 for a family of four) but requires beneficiaries to pay premiums up to 2 percent of their income. Consequently, 70,000 Montanans are newly eligible for Medicaid and can enroll in ACA immediately with coverage due to take effect January 1.

Social Security

The Joint Economic Committee met to hear testimony at a hearing on the future of Social Security Disability Insurance.  Patrick O'Carroll, inspector general of the Social Security Administration appeared before the committee, as did Mark Duggan of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and Rebecca Vallas, policy director of the Center for American Progress's Poverty to Prosperity program. In their testimony, witnesses offered different recommendations on SSDI reform and the contrasting opinions as to the impact of SSDI enrollment on labor force participation among individuals with disabilities.

Medicaid Task Force

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) unveiled plans to form a Medicaid Task Force to develop policy proposals supported by the majority party. The Task Force will be composed of eight Republican congressmen who serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee. A full list of congressmen who will serve on the task force can be found here.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

The small African island country of São Tome and Principe ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on November 5, becoming the 43rd country in Africa to do so. 160 countries have now ratified the Convention, but the United States remains only a signatory, having failed to pass CRPD in the Senate in 2012.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

For this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviewed Cathy Ficker Terrill, the president and CEO of the Council on Quality and Leadership about the new HCBS rule. In case you missed last week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz discussed this year's upcoming AUCD Annual Conference, which will run from November 15-18. The conference will feature a wide array of policy-related activities, including several exciting plenary sessions and Hill visits with AUCD network members' congressional delegations. A detailed schedule of events is available on the AUCD website.

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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