Disability Policy News In Brief

September 17, 2018

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September 17, 2018   |   Vol. XV, Issue 179
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The House will be on recess throughout this week and will return next Monday, September 24. A recess is not a vacation for lawmakers; they are district work days meant for you to engage with your elected officials locally. Connecting with your Members of Congress is a terrific way to show that you are interested in partnering for good policy.

If your Members of Congress voted in a way you agree with, taking the time to say thank you is a great way to build a long-term relationship. If they voted in a way you found challenging, connecting to follow up is the right way to build ties and share how you are willing to be a good resource about the issues that are important to you.

Action Steps:

  • Call your lawmakers' district offices and ask for appointments with your Senators and Representative while they are home.
  • Attend a town hall.
  • Connect with them at a public event (parade, festival, etc.).
  • Submit an op-ed to your local paper.
  • Use Facebook or Twitter to engage your Members of Congress.



As midterm elections approach, it is critical that you be registered to vote and carry the proper voter ID. Over 25 million eligible voters may be prevented from voting this year because they lack the correct Voter ID and getting an acceptable ID in 34 states with Voter ID requirements is very confusing and difficult.

VoteRiders offers free help in understanding Voter ID requirements in your state and how to get the right ID. It is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group dedicated to ensuring that all eligible American citizens can vote. Help is provided through a toll-free helpline and free wallet-sized Voter ID Information cards that summarize voting requirements by state. Use these resources to ensure you and others have the correct ID to vote.


Budget and Appropriations

FY2019 Budget

On September 13, the Senate and House moved closer to preventing a shutdown by passing a large package of spending bills (H.R. 5895), which covers appropriations related to Energy-Water, Military Construction-VA and the Legislative Branch. The measure, which President Trump is expected to sign, encompasses a quarter of the 12 appropriations bills that Congress must pass before October 1, when a shutdown will take place.

Lawmakers also released a conference report on a similar two-bill package (H.R. 6157) that covers Defense and Labor-HHS-Education spending and is now ready for a floor vote. Members plan to attach a stopgap measure to H.R. 6157 that will fund remaining government programs through December 7. There are several pieces of good news within the spending agreement:

  • Funding for Autism and DD Councils (which fund LEND) will increase by $1.5 million.
  • UCEDD will remain funded at current levels.
  • PNS (Projects of National Significance) will remain funded at current levels.

You can read the conference report and the conference committee's explanatory statement here.

A four-bill package (H.R. 6147) that addresses funding for Agriculture, Transportation, HUD, Financial Services and Interior-Environment is still in conference. Although most appropriations bills remain uncleared, this is the first time in a decade that Congress has passed a quarter of such bills before the end of the fiscal year. 


Health Care

EMPOWER Act (Money Follows the Person)

On September 13, the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved the EMPOWER Care Act (S. 2227/H.R. 5306), which reauthorizes Money Follows the Person (MFP) for one year. MFP gives state Medicaid programs critical resources that help individuals with chronic disabilities transition out of institutions into their local communities. The bill now goes to the House for a full vote.

Action Steps:


Civil Rights

Supreme Court Nomination

In this bonus episode of Tuesdays with Liz, Liz reflects on testifying in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings. She also talks about the importance of speaking up and using your voice.

Visit https://bit.ly/2pb7YsZ to watch Liz's testimony and learn more about why AUCD and hundreds of other disability and civil rights organizations oppose the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Action Steps:

  • Every Senator will have a vote, so contacting both your Senators to share your concerns and speaking specifically about the civil rights of people with disabilities is critical. Phone calls and in-person meetings (including in state offices) are the most impactful.
  • Amplify Liz's testimony by sharing it and by calling your Senators about it. 
  • AUCD is happy to hand-deliver any letters to your senator on Capitol Hill. Email your letters to [email protected] or [email protected] and AUCD will make sure they get passed on to your senator. Use your voice!


AUCD has two emails you can send your Senators:

  • One that educates Senators about the concerning aspects of Judge Kavanaugh's record. You can find it here.
  • One that asks Senators to oppose the nomination based on Judge Kavanaugh's record. You can find it here.


Communication to the following Senators is particularly important:

  • Doug Jones (D-AL), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV)

If you live in their states, you are encouraged to activate your networks. If you are not in their states, consider reaching out to friends and urge them to lift their voices.


Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

This week, Liz interviews Amy Hewitt about AUCD's 2018 Conference. Amy discusses the conference theme, the importance of inclusion, and exciting conference events.

You can register for the conference at https://bit.ly/2N0zUyr.




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

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