Disability Policy News In Brief

July 8, 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)
July 8, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 26
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Congressional Recess All Month

Members of Congress are already filling up their calendars for the August recess - which lasts through Labor Day - now is a good time to request meetings with them. Think about hosting a community event and inviting your members of Congress or invite them to visit your programs or centers.

Action Step:

  • Reach out to both the district office and D.C. office with your request and ask to be connected with a scheduler.

Autism CARES Update

The Autism CARES Act - which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families - will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced (S. 427, HR. 1058). Currently 25 Senators and 140 Representatives have joined as co-sponsors.

Action Steps:

  • Use the August Recess to your advantage and set up a meeting with your members who are not Co-Sponsors to talk about the importance of CARES in your state. Invite them to your offices.

A close up of a map

International Disability

Representative Dina Titus (D-NV) introduced the Office of International Disability Rights Act (HR 3373) to establish a permanent Office on International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State and to appoint a Special Advisor. It has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

Action Step: Learn more from the US International Council on Disabilities.

Budget & Appropriations

With the House and Senate continuing not to hold negotiations on a budget and no movement after last week's recess, we are taking this week to dive deeper into the budget and appropriations process. The federal budget process is complex and can be confusing. Time to think back to your fun and favorite government class!

There are 5 key steps in the federal budget process:

1.    The President submits a budget request to Congress

2.    The House and Senate pass budget resolutions (or spending guidelines)

3.    House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees "mark up" appropriations bills

4.    The House and Senate vote on appropriations bills and agree on differences

5.    The President signs each appropriations bill and the budget becomes law

timeline of budget cycle

When the budget process is not complete by Oct. 1, Congress may pass a continuing resolution so that federal agencies continue to receive funding until the full budget is in place. A continuing resolution provides temporary funding for federal agencies until new appropriations bills become law. When Congress does not pass a continuing resolution by October 1, it can result in a government shutdown.

Why do we need a new budget deal?

In 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA), which set overall discretionary spending caps for both defense and non-defense discretionary spending for ten years. These caps are highly restrictive, making it hard to finalize and pass appropriations legislation, though Congress has raised the caps above those levels mandated in the BCA, increasing overall spending levels. The last time this was done was two year ago for FY 2018 and FY 2019.

What happens if there is no deal to increase the budget caps?

If Congress and the President fail to reach a deal to increase the budget caps, the BCA included a policy called sequestration. This means automatic cuts to critical programs. 

What happens next?

Congress and the President must agree on lifting the budget caps. In addition to reaching a budget deal, Congress will also need to raise the debt ceiling (the limit on how much the federal government can borrow) to prevent the U.S. Treasury from defaulting on their debt obligations. Fights between the budget and debt ceiling before the end of the fiscal year (September 30th) can lead to government shutdown.

Campaign 2020

Get to know who is running on the Democratic ticket! These charts include candidates' positions on disability issues. The candidates who qualify under Democratic National Committee rules will next meet in Detroit on July 30 and July 31. This week we dive into Senator Cory Booker:

Cory Booker Cory Booker (D-NJ) was elected in 2006 as Newark's mayor after serving time as a city council member. Elected to the Senate in 2013, Senate Booker has fought for criminal justice reform, expanding economic opportunity, and equal justice. In 2018, he helped to write and pass the First Step Act-a bipartisan bill that, for the first time in decades, makes meaningful reforms to our criminal justice system and begins to reverse the injustices of mass incarceration. "Cory believes in an economy that values American workers and benefits everyone, not just the privileged few. His baby bonds proposal, the American Opportunity Accounts Act, would virtually close the racial wealth gap by funding a federally-backed savings account for every child born in America that grows with them as they grow up, ensuring that all children born in this country are afforded the opportunity for upward mobility." He has an "Issues" section of his website dedicated to "Equality for People with Disabilities" stating "people with disabilities still face higher rates of poverty, are overrepresented in our criminal justice system, and must overcome other barriers to health care and quality of life." He states that he would work to ensure accessibility, equality, and opportunity for all people with disabilities by:

  • Breaking down barriers to accessing employment, transportation, housing, and health care with the Disability Integration Act.
  • Fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Raising wages for people with disabilities by phasing out the subminimum wage.

On current disability proposed legislation, Booker co-sponsors Autism CARES and the Disability Integration Act. You can learn more about Senator Cory Booker and the accessibility of his campaign here

Action Steps:

  • Your voice is needed to ensure that disability policy is part of the campaign.
  • For candidates who are currently in office, share and elevate their position on key disability legislation as noted in the chart. Tip: You can and should ask them to support bills of importance.
  • Check out the campaign website of each candidate (links provided); use the sites to submit questions about disability policy. For example, "How will you be ensuring that your campaign fully includes people with disabilities and intentionally speaks to people with disabilities?

Tuesdays with Liz: Ivanova Smith Shares Her LEND Story

Ivanova Smith shares her experience with the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs, which are funded through the Autism CARES Act. The Act is up for renewal by Congress and needs to be reauthorized or renewed by September 30, 2019, in order to continue to provide funding for programs like LEND. Join Ivanova and Liz in educating members of Congress about the importance of LEND and CARES.

Read more about:

-LENDs at https://bit.ly/2LjuihA

-LEND funding at https://bit.ly/2SVtqju



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





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AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910
AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910