Disability Policy News In Brief

January 11, 2016

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January 11, 2016   |   Vol. XV, Issue 54
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Congressional Schedule

The House returned last Tuesday, January 5, and the Senate returned today Monday, January 11. 

State of the Union

Tomorrow, January 12, President Obama will deliver his final State of the Union (SOTU) address to Congress (see trailer). He will likely highlight the Administration's accomplishments and its policy and funding priorities for the coming year.  AUCD has urged the Administration to include the needs of people with disabilities within the broader social agenda. The President's policy priorities outlined in the State of the Union address are also likely to be reflected in his final budget request to Congress, which he is expected to submit to lawmakers February 9. It is expected that the President will also acknowledge several policy landmarks during his administration that are noteworthy to individuals with disabilities, including passage of the ABLE Act, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), WIOA, as well as the impact of the Affordable Care Act (see the list of "Expanded Opportunities for People with Disabilities" within the social agenda accomplishments).  The SOTU will be captioned and live-streamed on the White House website.  In anticipation of the SOTU, Tuesday's with Liz (published tomorrow) features an interview with Maria Town, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, about the President's policy agenda for the coming year.

Health Care

A bill (HR 3762) that would repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and block federal funding for Planned Parenthood was approved, with near unanimous partisan divisions, by a House vote of 241 to 181 on January 6. While the House has voted over fifty times to repeal the ACA, since Republicans took majority in 2011, this is the first time the Senate has passed an ACA repeal bill with a vote of 52 to 47. Republicans were able to get the bill through the Senate, where Democrats had filibustered previous efforts, by using a fast-track process known as reconciliation that allows the bill to pass with a simple majority. However, as expected, the President vetoed the measure on January 8 stating that repealing ACA would "reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America."


Over the next few weeks, all states will publish Unified Integrated State Workforce Plans concerning the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Deadlines for public comment are approaching in several states. The deadline for comments are as follows:  Wisconsin by January 13; California and Kansas by January 15; Oregon by January 23; Delaware by January 26; and Michigan by January 31. All states must release their plans for public comment by March. RespectAbility, a new non-profit disability organization focusing on raising awareness and increasing employment for people with disabilities, has issued a toolkit to help advocates and other stakeholders respond to the requests for comments.


Kim Musheno, AUCD's Director of Public Policy, appeared before the U.S. Department of Education today to provide recommendations concerning proposed regulations to implement programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which was reauthorized in December as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Testifying on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Education Task Force, Kim encouraged Secretary King to ensure that Regulations promote meaningful inclusion of students with disabilities in state accountability systems. She also urged the Department of Education to clarify concerns pertaining to assessments and requirements for state and local plans, which may vary in transparency and consistency without proper regulatory guidance.  A transcript of the day's testimony will be provided on the Dept. of ED website soon.  CCD's recommendations will be available on the CCD website as well.

Policy Committee          

The next meeting of the AUCD Public Policy Committee is tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET.  An agenda and number was emailed to committee members last week.  The Policy Committee holds a monthly call the second Tuesday of every month; if you are interested in participating on this standing committee of the association, please contact Kim Musheno or Christine Grosso.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

This week Liz Weintraub, AUCD's advocacy specialist and host of Tuesdays with Liz, interviews Maria Town, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, about the President's policy agenda for the coming year (see State of the Union address above). In last week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz, Liz celebrated its one year anniversary by reviewing policy accomplishments throughout 2015.

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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