Disability Policy News In Brief

January 14, 2019

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January 14, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 2
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The ongoing partial government shutdown is now the longest in U.S. history, surpassing the shutdown from late 1995 to early 1996, which lasted 21 days.

The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, passed unanimously in the Senate and was approved across party lines in the House of Representatives, would guarantee that furloughed federal employees will be paid retroactively and stipulates that all employees will be paid as soon as possible after the lapse in appropriations ends. The bill now heads to the President's desk to be signed into law. Senator McConnell indicated on the Senate floor that he had assurances from the White House that President Trump would sign the bill.

H.R.259 - Medicaid Extenders Act of 2019 passed the House by voice vote on January 8th. It includes a provision to renew Money Follows the Person (MFP) funding for three months and to extend spousal impoverishment protections to Medicaid HCBS participants.  These provisions have been in the various failed budget CRs; it is unclear if the Senate will take up this bill.

Medicaid block grants

Multiple media outlets report that administration officials are allowing states to get block grants for Medicaid. The proposal would issue guidance to states encouraging them to apply for caps on federal Medicaid spending in exchange for additional flexibility on how they run the program.

Action Step:

  • Continued education is needed about how block grants could impact people with disabilities. Previous communications around the impact of block grants can be formatted as letters to the editor in the face of this current possible proposal.

Texas v. United States

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on Friday granted the Department of Justice's request that appeal proceedings be temporarily halted on account of the funding lapse affecting the agency.  This pauses the process to consider the appeal filed by Democratic attorneys general defending ObamaCare.  DOJ attorneys say they are prohibited from working during the shutdown and would miss an upcoming deadline unless the case were paused.

Race for 2020

The following notable candidates have filed to run for president with the Federal Election Commission or announced exploratory committees:

  •  Julian Castro (D), a former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and San Antonio mayor, formally announced his candidacy on January 12, 2019.
  • Tulsi Gabbard (D), a U.S. Representative from Hawaii, announced that she had decided to run for president on January 11, 2019.
  • Elizabeth Warren (D), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, announced she had formed an exploratory committee on December 31, 2018.
  • Richard Ojeda (D), a state senator from West Virginia, filed to run for president on November 11, 2018.
  • John Delaney (D), a former U.S. Representative from Maryland, filed to run for president on August 10, 2017.

Action Step:

  • All candidates need to hear from you about the importance of including disability as a primary policy consideration. If you are in a state where a candidate is from, consider engaging with them and the campaign around disability policy. If you are in a state that is receiving visits from candidates, attend events and raise critical issues around disability policy. 

Civil Rights

The Disability Integration Act (DIA) will be reintroduced on January 15, 2019.  

Action Step:

  • A celebration will take place from 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET at the Capitol Visitors Center. Those not in DC can watch on @NationalADAPT Facebook & Youtube
  • Additional information about the DIA can be found at: http://www.disabilityintegrationact.org/

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

Tuesdays with Liz: Remembering History and Early Disability Advocates

Tune in as Liz sits down with Deborah Spitalnik to talk about how the history of disability advocacy has shaped the disability rights movement today and some of the major leaders who spearheaded the movement. 

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