Disability Policy News In Brief

February 27, 2017

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday
February 27, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 112
AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, FacebookAUCD, Disability Policy News InBrief, every Monday, TwitterDisability Policy News InBrief, every Monday, SharespaceAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, YouTube list Tuesday Morning with LizspaceAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, Subscription formAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, ArchiveAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, RSS


The Trump administration announced today that it is directing agencies to find savings in non-defense discretionary spending in order to increase defense spending by $54 billion. The White House is sending a topline budget proposal reflecting those figures to federal agencies on March 16, according to today's Congressional Quarterly. Where the cuts in non-defense discretionary will come from is not specified however, CQ also reports that Trump's budget will "rearrange priorities in domestic spending and eliminate programs that administration officials believe have been ineffective or should not be a federal responsibility." The proposal violates a long-standing commitment to parity between the defense and non-defense discretionary funding. The proposed cuts will only come from the one-third of the budget that deals with discretionary spending.  Proposals to change mandatory program spending will come later in the year. Like any Administration budget, the final details will have to be worked out in Congress.  Tomorrow, Feb. 28, President Trump will address a joint session of Congress, where he is expected to provide more details about his administration's budget priorities.

Trump Cabinet

On February 16, the Senate confirmed (51-49) Mick Mulvaney as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB is the largest division within the Executive Office of the President, which is charged with developing the budget and overseeing the implementation of the President's agenda across the Executive Branch.  This week the Senate will consider the nominations of Wilbur Ross to be Secretary of Commerce and Ryan Zinke to be Secretary of the Interior. Following the disposition of the Zinke nomination the Senate will consider the nominations of Ben Carson to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Rick Perry to be Energy Secretary.

Health Care

New Republican Policy Brief: Per Capita Caps

Last week, a policy briefing paper and discussion draft bill were made available through the press that is being used in discussions among Republican lawmakers to draft bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - Obamacare Repeal and Replace: Policy Brief and Resources. The brief outlines policy proposals similar to those proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan's Better Way Plan. AUCD has concerns about three specific items in the policy brief: 1) proposed per capita caps with the option for block grants, 2) proposed Health Savings Accounts, and 3) "next generation high risk pools." AUCD, along with our DD Partners (NDRN and NACDD) sent a statement to the House leadership urging them to offer a plan that protects people with disabilities from the discrimination they experienced prior to the implementation of the ACA and ensure access to care, and offering to work with the House leadership and all Members as Congress as they consider revisions to the ACA and Medicaid. Today, Republican Governors are in DC meeting with congressional leaders to discuss the health care proposals.

Prevention and Public Health Fund

AUCD, along with 333 organizations, sent a letter to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, Speaker of the House, and Democratic Leader expressing the dire consequences of repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund authorized under the Affordable Care Act. Repealing the Prevention Fund without a corresponding increase in the allocation for the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill would leave a funding gap for essential public health programs, and could also foretell deep cuts for other critical programs funded in the bill.


On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, the Supreme Court issued a ruling finding that a family does not need to exhaust the due process provisions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) if supports or services for a student with a disability are not directly connected to providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE). In an 8-0 ruling in the case of Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools found that a young girl with cerebral palsy who uses a service dog to assist her with her daily activities, did not complete the due process complaints provided under IDEA before suing the school system to allow her to bring her dog to school. In the opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan, the Court stated the child could have filed a similar suit against a public library or a theater if she had been barred from entering their premises because of her service dog. The unanimous decision clarifies when the ADA and the Rehab Act apply to possible cases of discrimination in school.


AUCD signed onto a letter prepared by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR) and one by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) in response to the notice published in the Federal Register on December 30 regarding Mandatory Civil Rights Data Collection. The civil rights community has relied on this data since the collection began in 1968  and believes it is vitally important to preserve the scope, frequency and public accessibility of the information to support the Department of Education's work in ensuring equal educational opportunity and compliance with federal law. Data is needed to identify and replicate positive examples and intervene to address bad conditions for student learning. At a minimum, data should continue to be collected and reported biennially and the department should continue to investigate ways in which the data can be available annually.

Education Office of Civil Rights

AUCD signed onto a letter developed by the LCCHR along with 60 other civil rights groups urging US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stressing the critical role that the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights plays in ensuring that all students' rights are upheld fully. The letter urges Secretary DeVos and President Trump to select an Assistant Secretary who is fully committed to fighting all forms of individual and systemic discrimination, possesses strong experience across an expansive array of civil rights issues, and whose decision-making will consistently be informed by facts and adhere completely to the law. LCCHR also asks that the Office of Civil Rights continue to engage with citizen-stakeholders by inviting interest groups from all backgrounds to share perspectives before policy guidance is developed.

Health Workforce/Hiring freeze

AUCD signed on to a letter urging President Trump to consider the importance of the work done by federal public health and biomedical research professionals as his administration develops new long-term federal hiring policies. The letter stresses the critical role that federal agencies such as HRSA play in ensuring that local service providers are able to respond effectively to public health outbreaks, natural disasters and other emergencies. It also references the immense responsibilities of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The letter also notes the immense scale and importance of biomedical research performed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). All of these agencies fulfill truly unique and critical roles in ensuring public health and safety.

Disability Policy Seminar - Registration Open

Join over 900 other advocates from around the country for the 2017 Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C. on March 20-22. This event is the premier opportunity to cultivate champions on Capitol Hill and advance the grassroots movement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Join the AUCD network by registering here. See you there!

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz interviews Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), the father of a son with disabilities.  Rep. Sessions talk about the House Rules Committee that he chairs and the ABLE Act that he sponsored.  In case you missed last week's episode, Liz interviewed Mara Youdelman, the managing attorney at the National Health Law Program on Medicaid Per Capita Caps, what they are and the potential impact.

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 

AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910