Disability Policy News In Brief

May 1, 2017

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May 1, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 120
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Over the weekend, House and Senate appropriations leaders reached a deal on the FY 2017 omnibus spending package. The text is posted on the House Rules Committee site. See also a summary provided by House Chairman Frelinghuysen. The omnibus bill packages the 11 remaining annual appropriations bills into one. AUCD is pleased with the bipartisan agreement, overall, with many AUCD network priorities receiving either level-funding or modest increases. University Centers for Excellence (UCEDD) and other DD Act programs are level-funded; Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs are level-funded. The agreement provides a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes for Health (NIH). Within the NIH increase, NICHD receives a $40 million increase. The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Center (NCBDDD) receives a $2 million increase in the final bill.  While further action is still required, AUCD is hopeful that the House and Senate will pass the final bill later this week.  The President is expected to sign it into law by Friday, which is the deadline for the current continuing resolution. AUCD emailed more details earlier today and will provide a full analysis after the bill is signed into law. For more information, please contact Kim Musheno.

New Appointments

Last Thursday Alexander Acosta, the dean of Florida International University College of Law and former United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida, was confirmed as Labor Secretary by the Senate with a vote of 60-to-38 Eight Democrats and one independent voted in favor of Mr. Acosta. This confirmation completes the President's cabinet, all listed in the Washington Post along with the President's senior advisors.

Health Care

Affordable Care Act and the American Health Care Act

Last week, the House Freedom Caucus announced its support of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) following a new amendment that would further weaken the law. This new amendment would allow states to waive protections for those with pre-existing conditions and to stop providing "essential health benefits" (which include mental health care, rehabilitative and habilitative services, preventative care, and more). Over the weekend, sources have suggested that the AHCA would be voted on this week. It is imperative for network members and allies to continue educating Members of Congress about the importance of comprehensive, affordable and accessible health care.  AUCD sent an action alert last week prepared by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities with talking points and action steps.  

Steve Gleason Act

As mentioned in last week's edition of In Brief, AUCD signed on to a letter drafted by the Center for Medicare Advocacy on behalf of older adults and people with disabilities urging Congress to support the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act of 2017. The bills extends the Steve Gleason Act of 2015  by removing the current sunset date of October 1, 2018 (S 984 introduced by Senator Vitter, R-LA and HR 1919 introduced by Representative McMorris Rodgers, R-WA).


AUCD, along with 25 other civil rights and education groups signed on to a letter authored by the Leadership Conference to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos calling for a thorough and robust review of state accountability plans submitted to the department, as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Department of Education plays a critical role in safeguarding educational equity for all children and must evaluate state plans to ensure that they hold schools and districts responsible for how well they are educating and preparing all children for success. The letter also outlines areas of concern in current state plans and underscores the federal government's responsibility to be the backstop when states fail in their duty to build and support schools that enable all children to reach their fullest potential.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz interviews Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) chair of the Disability Bipartisan Caucus about the Life Respite Care Act and the Disability Caucus. In case you missed it last week, Liz interviewed Maggie Winston, who is a LEND trainee from Alaska and a DREAM fund recipient about her experience in DC when she came for Disability Policy Seminar.



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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