Disability Policy News In Brief

June 25, 2018

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June 25, 2018   |   Vol. XV, Issue 167
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Budget and Appropriations

Fiscal Year (FY) 2019

The House Appropriations Committee has postponed the full committee markup. Originally scheduled for June 20, the Labor-HHS-E bill markup has been pushed to next Tuesday, June 26th. The markup will be webcast here. (See last week's In Brief for a summary of the bill.) The FY19 $177.1 billion bill does not include an increase over FY18, which means select program increases come at the expense of other programs. The Committee report with detailed line item funding amounts should be posted on Monday. This draft bill includes $196 million cuts from HRSA (which includes funding for LEND). See full text here (HRSA begins on page 48). See Committee page for more information.

Rescission - a process that the President may use to ask Congress to cut already appropriated or authorized money.

On June 20, the Senate narrowly rejected (48-50) President Trump's plan to take back roughly $15 billion in spending that was approved by Congress earlier this year, including significant CHIP funding. Congress had until Friday to pass the rescissions package, which passed the House last week. See previous In Brief for background on rescission efforts.

House 2019 Budget Resolution

House Budget Committee Chair Womack introduced a 2019 Budget Resolution (see definition) on June 19, which the Budget Committee passed June 21. The clear purpose is to cut entitlement programs (such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment, etc.). It instructs 11 House Committees to come up with at least $302 billion in savings over 10 years. With the midterms approaching and little interest to do this, it's largely a messaging bill. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Enzi says he's working on his own 2019 budget plan, but there is less urgency since a 2-year budget deal set spending levels for FY19. There is always a risk, depending on the outcome of the elections, that efforts to cut programs could be revived during the lame duck session (see definition). The plan is similar to past House Budgets:  nearly $6 Trillion in cuts over 10 years, with about a third from Medicaid, Medicare, & the ACA according to CBPP. Here is the Committee's summary.

Health Care

On June 19, the Health Policy Consensus Group, a conservative coalition, published an article titled The Health Care Choices Proposal: Policy Recommendations to Congress. The group hopes that Congress will take up a renewed effort to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka ObamaCare, and make substantive changes to Medicaid, replacing ObamaCare spending with block grants. The CCD (a consortium of which AUCD is a member) explains that this would shift significant costs to states and almost certainly lead states to cut Medicaid substantially over time, potentially placing millions of low-income Americans at risk of losing part or all of their health coverage. See a September 2017 analysis by CBO for more on the negative impacts.

  • Action Step:  Continue educating your Members about the importance of Medicaid and protections under current law for Americans with preexisting conditions

Civil Rights

Children and Families

On June 20, all 24 Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats sent a letter to Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chair Michael Burgess (R-TX) demanding an immediate hearing on the well-being of children being "forcibly separated from their parents and families" and placed into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). According to reports, ORR shelters are now operating at 95 percent capacity and it is not clear that HHS has adequate staff and resources to provide appropriate housing, food, clothing, counseling and other necessities to all children in its care. The agency is so overwhelmed that it has reportedly resorted to housing children in a tent city in the desert outside of El Paso, Texas.

On this same day, AUCD made a public statement opposing family separation at borders and calling on lawmakers and the Administration to take action. See statement here.  

  • Action Step: Challenges continue for migrant children and families. Use the AUCD statement to support your education and advocacy work to ensure the human rights of children are addressed. Share your thoughts on the safety and care of children who likely include children who have disabilities.

Update on DREAMers/DACA Bills

Last week's In Brief reported on several bills related to immigration. Since then, the Securing America's Future Act (HR 4760), introduced by Representative Goodlatte (R-VA) did not pass. The other "compromise" bill called Border Security and immigration Act was postponed until some time this week, "to give members more time to review it."

  • Action Step: Continue to share details about the roles DREAMers/DACA recipients play in your life and your community with your Representatives (find them using this tool). If you have examples of DREAMers/DACA recipients working in jobs that impact disability, share that as well. Also share input on how immigration policy is impacting workforce that touches lives of people with disabilities.



A bipartisan bill, equally supported by both democrats and republicans, reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act will be marked up in the Senate HELP Committee on Tuesday June 26. The federal government spends about 1.5 billion each year on CTE programs, but the law has not been updated since 2006. Senators Alexander, Murray, Enzi, and Casey have developed bill language including some new language important to students with disabilities and their families. The bill includes mention of students with disabilities and the purpose of preparing them for employment in the "Purposes Section", explicitly includes the requirement that representatives of individuals with disabilities be included in the state plan, creating a state set-aside of funds to use as recruitment of special populations including students with disabilities, and a definition of "universal design for learning" has been added and referred to as a recommended instructional strategy. The hearing can be viewed here. Information on CTE can be found here.

  • Action Step: Use this updated engagement to contact your Senators and educate them on how these new additions to the bill are crucial for the success of students with disabilities and expands opportunities for competitive employment.

"Significant Disproportionality" Rule

On June 15, the Department of Education filed the Final Rule on compliance regarding "Equity in IDEA" or "significant disproportionality" regulations. See previous In Brief for more information. Given the timeframe of comment review and the filing, the Final Rule may be posted in the Federal Register in September.

  • Action Step: Even if the Department of Education extends the deadline for compliance, states have the option to move forward. Reach out to the Department of Education and Governor in your state and share the importance of moving forward. If you submitted public comment on the rule, you can share the comments with leaders in your state to advocate for their leadership.


AUCD signed on to a letter with 159 other organizations emphasizing the importance of increasing the age of onset of a disability for ABLE accounts through age 46 (the current age is 26), allowing those who become disabled later in life to open accounts. The letter was sent to all co-sponsors of the bill in both the House and Senate; the committee members' staff of House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees; the House and Senate leadership staff; and all of the Chiefs of Staff and Legislative Directors of the House and Senate. See letter here.

  • Action Step: Please use the AUCD Action Center to send an email (which you can personalize) - Educate your Members on the importance of increasing the age limit and/or advocate for your Members to cosponsor ABLE Age Adjustment Act HR 1874/S 817.

Proposed Federal Department Mergers

The Trump administration wants to combine the standalone Education and Labor Departments into a new Cabinet-level agency: Department of Education and the Workforce. The proposal is part of the administration's broader plan to reorganize the federal government, released June 21. Overall, the plan would eliminate and combine government programs and give private industry a bigger role. It would also rename the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Public Welfare (and give it jurisdiction over food stamps), among nearly 30 changes to how the federal government operates. As it currently stands, the proposal is just a plan and likely to go nowhere in Congress, which has the sole authority to create, eliminate, and reorganize federal agencies.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

This week we share part 2 of Liz's interview with Hill Staffer Kate Mevis. In part 2, Liz and Kate continue their chat about the importance of inclusive employment and the influence Liz's presence had on the staff and office of U.S. Senator Bob Casey. Learn more:



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For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms 

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