Disability Policy News In Brief

February 4, 2019

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
February 4, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 5
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Shutdown (post-shutdown action and efforts to avoid another)

The bipartisan, bicameral Congressional conference committee appointed to negotiate a border security compromise met for the first time last week. The panel aims to craft a deal that will avoid another partial government shutdown when funding for about one-fourth of the government expires on February 15. It is expected that these issues will feature prominently in Tuesday's State of the Union address.

The House passed the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019 on Janaury 30th. This is an effort to reinstate the cost of living raise - effective this month - that was frozen by the executive order President Donald Trump signed in December.


The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (S.260 and H. 863) was introduced last week. The bill would assist employers providing employment under special certificates issued under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to transform their business and program models to support individuals with disabilities to transition to competitive integrated employment, and would phase out the use of 14 (c) certificates. AUCD's support for the bill can be found here.

Action Steps:

Educate your Congressional delegation about the bill and encourage advocates to ask members to co-sponsor this important legislation.


Medicare for All (Universal Health Care)

There is growing energy in the Democratic caucus to consider transformative health care legislation. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash) is reportedly gathering co-sponsors for her Medicare for All bill and plans an unveiling during the second week of February. It is anticipated that hearings will take place on the measure in the House Budget Committee. Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris threw her support behind a Medicare-for-All plan during a CNN forum on January 28th. It is important to note that this effort is unlikely to make progress in the Republican-controlled Senate and would not be supported by President Trump.

Action Step:

  • Members need to hear about the critical needs of people with disabilities in health care. Now is the time to ensure that any transformative health care legislation includes long-term services and supports, access to treatment under the EPSDT Medicaid mandate and other critical services vital to people with disabilities. A health care system that works for people with disabilities is a system that will serve all Americans well.

Protecting the ACA

The House Ways and Means Committee used its first hearing of the new Congress on January 29th to focus on pre-existing conditions, with members re-litigating the 2010 passage of ObamaCare and repeated GOP efforts to repeal it. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis), announced her cancer diagnosis at the hearing: "This is a cancer I will live with for the rest of my life, but, because of my high-quality healthcare and insurance coverage, it is not a cancer I will die from."

Drug Prices

Last week marked public positioning by the administration, Congressional leadership and key committees in both houses around drug pricing.

  • HHS Secretary Alex Azar published an opinion piece in STAT about the need to lower drug prices. 
  • The House Oversight Committee held a full committee hearing on drug prices, including discussion of a proposal that would cut the exclusivity periods the government grants drug makers for their products.
  • The Senate Finance Committee's Full Committee Hearing on drug prices focused on "anti-competitive" drug company behavior and reforming Medicare's prescription drug benefit.

While much of the discussion is retreading of policy concepts that academics, advocacy groups and lawmakers alike have previously detailed, the notable focus on the issue from all sides highlights the possibility for significant action during this Congress.

Action Step:

  • Share your experiences and needs around medication cost, coverage and access with your Congressional delegation.

Policy Forum for Emerging Leaders

On Sunday evening immediately before the Disability Policy Seminar, AUCD is hosting a special Policy Forum for Emerging Leaders in a disability space. Attendees will have exclusive access to Hill staffers and former trainees now working in policy, and learn from the experts how best to craft your message for Wednesday's Hill visits. An evening reception will provide a comfortable background for Emerging Leaders to meet and network with over 200 peers from around the country in the disability space.

Action Step:

  • Plan to attend and register for this event.

Race for 2020

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D) is the latest high profile candidate to enter the presidential race. The New York Times has created an interactive infographic to track which notable  candidates have declared their candidacies.

Action Steps:

  • 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 their campaign around disability policy. If you are in state that is receiving visits from candidates, attend events and raise critical issues around disability policy

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

You don't have to be in D.C. to advocate! As Liz explains how you can advocate from wherever you are, Inky Brittany provides graphic facilitation of Liz's advocating tips.



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

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