Disability Policy News In Brief

October 1, 2018

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday
October 1, 2018   |   Vol. XV, Issue 181
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Administration Updates

Julie Hocker has been appointed as the new Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities at the Administration for Community Living. Ms. Hocker was previously a Senior Manager at the Charles Koch Foundation and is also a Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Human Dignity at the American Conservative Union Foundation. ACL issued a press statement announcing Ms. Hocker's appointment and background.

Congressional Calendar

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) announced on Friday that the House will reconvene on November 13. This means all members of the House will be in their districts in the run-up to the midterm elections. Engaging with your lawmakers while they are home campaigning is a great way to show that you are interested in partnering for good policy in the long term. If your Representative 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 your Representative voted in a way that you found challenging, connecting to follow up is the right way to build a relationship and share how you are willing to be a resource about the issues that are important to you.

This issue of In Brief includes several topics we encourage you to connect with your Member about.

It is fair to use the campaign period to raise issues that you care about not only with the incumbent, but also with other candidates running to represent you.

Action Steps:

  • Call your lawmakers' district offices and ask for appointments with your Representatives 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.



The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement reported the voting rate for undergraduate and graduate students at 48.3% in 2016. AUCD Trainees and Emerging Leaders are encouraged to share their voices by voting.

Action Step:


Budget and Appropriations

On September 26, the House passed a conference report for a Defense and Labor-HHS-Education spending bill (H.R. 6157) paired with a continuing resolution that will fund government programs without full FY 2019 appropriations until December 7. The measure passed the House with a vote of 361-61, and President Trump signed the bill on September 28.

Action Step:

  • Reach out to your Congressional delegation - this is a topic where statewide contact is appropriate. Thank them for their support of LENDs and UCEDDs in the appropriations process. Share information about the value of this investment to your state and community.


Bonus Action Step:

  • Use social media to thank your lawmakers for their support of these programs and highlight their value. Be sure to tag your Congressional delegation and AUCD on all platforms.


Health Care


On September 25, the House and Senate announced that they have reached an agreement on an opioids bill that brings together the legislation passed by the Senate and a different version passed by the House.

Action Step:

  • Reach out to your members of Congress and share how the opioid epidemic is impacting your community. Share parts of your work that are affected by this epidemic.


Drug Costs

The House passed both the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (H.R. 6143) and the Know the Cost Act of 2018 (H.R. 6733), both of which had previously passed the Senate. These bills prevent insurers from restricting pharmacists from telling patients when prescription drugs would be cheaper if paid for without insurance. One measure applies to individual and employer insurance markets while the other enforces the same rules in Medicare plans.

Intermediate Care Facilities Legislation

Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-6) has introduced H.R. 6786, which requires that residents of intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICFs/IID) and their guardians receive notice of any proposed federally-financed class action lawsuit against the facilities that provide care for them.

Action Step:

  • This bill closely matches a proposal from Representative Barney Frank back in 2007. Learn more about the objections and concerns raised at that time and use those talking points to educate your members about the issues.


Sign On Letter: Include Developmental Disability in Medical Education

The Health is for Everyone: Action Team (HEAT), led by AUCD, submitted a sign on letter to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education requesting that a requirement for content on developmental disabilities be integrated into Element 7.2 in the Standards for Accreditation of Medical Education Programs Leading to the MD Degree. Given HEAT's efforts on the American Medical Association Resolution 315 on the inclusion of Developmental Disability (DD) in undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education of physicians, it is timely to include developmental disabilities in undergraduate medical education training. Integrating such a requirement would be a powerful step towards ensuring that medical education incorporates developmental disabilities fully.

Action Step:


Civil Rights

Public Charge Rule

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press release about proposed changes to the public charge rule. The text of the rule has also been released. The proposed rule will be officially published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks. Once the proposed rule is officially published, the public will be able to comment on it. The comment period will last 60 days, starting on the day the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.

Action Step:


Supreme Court Nomination

The confirmation process for Judge Kavanaugh extends this week with a limited FBI investigation. The additional time provides a chance to continue to share your input with your Senators. AUCD has resources to address the judicial record of Judge Kavanaugh related to the civil rights of people with disabilities.

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.
  • 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!


Communication to the following Senators is particularly important:


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


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

Join us this week at Liz talks with Marcie Lipsitt about her background in advocating for the civil rights of students with disabilities.

To read more about civil rights issues for people with disabilities and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act visit https://bit.ly/2MK4H1r.



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

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