AUCD Legislative News InBrief

July 2, 2007

Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are on recess this week to celebrate Independence Day. Members of Congress will return on July 9th to a busy schedule which will include moving the annual appropriations bills and possible movement on the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Recess is a good time to meet with Members in their home districts. See recent Action Alerts on Labor HHS-Education Appropriations and the Expanding the Promise to Individuals with Autism Act along with a number of other alerts to assist you with talking points. If you can't meet with your Members, please email them using the sample messages in AUCD's action center.


FY 08 Appropriations

AUCD staff participated in a meeting with House Appropriations Chairman Obey (D-WI) last Thursday with other health, human services and education advocacy groups. The Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill will be brought before full committee the week of July 9 with floor action scheduled for the following week on July 17. Rep. Obey Chairman acknowledged that not everyone is happy with the bill. He said at least $3 billion more was needed just to get back to the FY 04 level, but that this was the best the committee could do within the limits of the budget resolution and to get enough support from both parties for passage. He stated that we can not reverse 12 years of neglect in one year; but we can't do anything if we can't get enough support to pass this bill and override a presidential veto. He strongly urged all of the groups to mobilize their constituents to build support for the bill over the July 4th recess. AUCD signed onto a coalition letter now signed by over 1,000 national and state organizations urging Congress to pass the bill. AUCD has prepared an Action Alert on this issue. 


Expanding the Promise to Individuals with Autism Act

AUCD is working to gain support for the Expanding the Promise to Individuals with Autism Act and to urge the House and Senate to mark up their bills in committee. The Senate bill (S. 937) has 11 co-sponsors (including 3 Republicans) and the House bill (H.R. 1881) has 60 co-sponsors (including 16 Republicans).   AUCD has prepared an Action Alert to gain co-sponsors on the bill.


The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing on community long-term services and supports on July 10. AUCD continues to work with other aging and disability organizations to find Republican co-sponsors for the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act in the House and Senate. Senator Kennedy (D-MA) plans to re-introduce the bill in conjunction with the hearing. A companion bill will also be introduced in the House by Representatives Reps. Dingell (D-MI) and Pallone (D-NJ). AUCD prepared an Action Alert asking individuals to contact members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. Local AUCD members are encouraged to attend the hearing. For more information, contact Joe Caldwell ([email protected]).


Traumatic Brain Injury Act

Last week the Senate HELP Committee passed a bill to reauthorize the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act of 2000 (S. 793). The TBI Act authorizes surveillance and reporting programs in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research by the National Institutes of Health, state grant programs through the Health Resources and Services Administration and Protection and Advocacy grants for states. The bill also includes provisions to help returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans receive treatment for brain injuries. Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ) introduced a House companion bill (H.R. 1418) on March 8 that was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. No further action was taken.

Workforce Investment Act

Last week the House Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness Subcommittee held its first hearing on reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act which also includes Vocational Rehabilitation. Bills to reauthorize WIA and VR were considered in the 108th and 109th Congresses, but not enacted. Previous proposals have included language on strengthening transition services and improving physical and programmatic access to one-stops, two important priorities of the disability community. The timetable for possible reauthorization is uncertain; AUCD will monitor activity.


NICHD Name Change Amendment

Last week the Senate HELP Committee passed a bill (S. 1011) to change the name of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to the National Institute on Alcohol Disorders and Health. The bill also changes the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the National Institute on Diseases of Addiction. During consideration, Senator Hatch (R-UT) proposed an amendment that passed unanimously by voice vote to rename the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development after Eunice Shriver. There is no companion House bill at this point.