Disability Policy News

July 27, 2020


Disability Policy News logo, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Disability Policy News logo, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
                 July 27, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 30

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically.


Senate Republicans continued to hammer out the details of a COVID-19 relief package 4, which Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has indicated he wants to send to President Trump before the August recess. While Leader McConnell has yet to release full legislative text, the bill is expected to prioritize liability protections for businesses and include funding to reopen schools, funding for testing, another round of direct-payment checks, and additional funds for small businesses. 

There is a real risk that human needs, including those of people with disabilities, will not be included in this package! The voices of constituents from every state are needed to ensure critical actions are taken. AUCD encourages you to reach out to your Senators and ask that COVID-19 relief legislation include Medicaid funding for home- and community-based services for people with disabilities and Special Education funding to meet the emergency needs of students and young children with disabilities and their families, schools, and service providers.

Other COVID-19 new this week:

Plain Language:

  • Congress is working on ways to support businesses, schools, and people during COVID-19. We are still not sure how they will help or when that help will come. 

What this means to you:

  • It is possible that Congress will not spend any money to help people with disabilities and the people who support them. You can call or email Congress to tell them about how COVID-19 has changed your life, for example your housing, services, health, school, or work. Every call and email matters.

Action steps:

  • Read the full Action Alert from AUCD for more details on how to contact your members of Congress and what to say when you do.
  • Email or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091(tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators and Representatives.

graduation cap, pencil, and ruler Education Funding

The national conversation on how to safely and effectively educate our nation' students continued this week as the House of Representatives Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee held a hearing on Thursday on the obstacles to reopening public schools. While the CARES Act (P.L.116-136) passed in March provided some initial emergency funding for schools, both political parties have signaled interest in additional funding for schools, although they disagree on the amount and recipients. The Democrat-controlled House passed additional funding for public schools in the HEROES Act (H.R.6800) and Senator Murray (D-WA) has introduced legislation (S.4112) to provide $430 billion to public schools and childcare services, with $11 billion allotted to Special Education. Republicans, including President Trump, have voiced support for including $105 billion in funds to help schools reopen in the next COVID-19 relief package, with $10 million earmarked for charter and private schools. President Trump has urged that funding only be given to schools that physically open their doors in the fall, but if and how that will play out legislatively is unclear.  

Plain Language:

  • The federal government is deciding how to help schools safely teach students in the next school year. Everyone agrees schools need more money to continue teaching, but people disagree about how much money and which schools should get extra money.

What it means to you:

  • Many students with disabilities and their families are unsure about what their education will look like next year. It is important that schools get the money they need to help students with disabilities continue to learn.  

Action Steps:

RX bottlePrescription Medication

President Trump signed executive orders on July 24, 2020, aimed at lowering the prices Americans pay for prescription drugs. It is unclear the orders will have much effect, as both drug makers and market experts indicate that they could prove difficult to implement. The disability community continues to express concern about the dangers of using discriminatory metrics like quality-adjusted life years in drug pricing.

Plain Language:

  • The President signed an order that uses quality-adjusted life years (QALYs).  Leaders need to hear from you about why people with disabilities are opposed to referencing quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) used in other countries.
    • An executive order is a type of written instruction that presidents use without input from Congress or judges. Executive orders can only be given to federal agencies, not to citizens.

What this means to you:

  • The executive orders may be hard to implement, so Congress and both Presidential campaigns need to hear from you about your concerns that they could increase discrimination.  

Action steps:

house and icon of person in wheelchairHousing

The federal moratorium on evictions included in the CARES Act expired on Friday, 7/24/20, leaving millions of renters financially devastated by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in danger of losing their housing. The federal moratorium halted any evictions for renters of federally-financed properties and renters living in federal-assisted housing, including Section 811 housing for people with disabilities and Section 202 housing for the elderly. An analysis by the Urban Institute estimates that roughly 12 million households, or 28.1% of all renters, were covered under the CARES Act Eviction Moratorium. Many state- and local-level eviction moratoriums are also set to expire in the coming weeks despite the continued rise of COVID-19 cases across the country that has made returning to work harder for many people. It is unclear whether Congress will take further legislative action on housing in the next COVID-19 relief package. While Senate Democrats have proposed extending the federal eviction moratorium, Senate Republicans have signaled greater interest in expanding unemployment insurance benefits to help households cover the cost of rent.  

Plain Language:

  • Many people are in danger of losing their homes because they cannot afford to pay rent if they cannot work during COVID-19. The federal government told landlords they could not kick out people who couldn't pay rent for four months. But now landlords can remove people from their homes for not paying rent.

Action Steps:

  • Read a Summary and Analysis of the federal CARES Act eviction moratorium provided by the National Housing Law Project to learn more about which types of housing and mortgage loans are affected by the expiration of the eviction moratorium.
  • Check what the housing eviction moratorium policies are where you live:

hand putting ballot in boxVoting 2020

We are 99 days until Election Day, November 3rd, 2020. Now is the time to make sure you and everyone you know is registered and has a plan to safely exercise their vote!

Action Steps:

  • Register and confirm your registration. You can check your registration here.

black and white image of capitol dome

30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Senate Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced a resolution to the House of Representatives celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The resolution further calls upon Congress to live up to the promises of equity and inclusion in the ADA to increase access to home- and community-based services for individuals with disabilities. 

Plain Language:

  • The House of Representatives celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Action Steps:

  • Read the press release announcing the introduction of a resolution marking the 30th Anniversary of the ADA by Majority Leader Hoyer and Representative Langevin. 

logo of AUCD Policy Talk

AUCD Policy Talk

As we continue to urge Congress to consider the needs of people with disabilities in upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation, we invite you to reflect with us on some of our previous #AUCDPolicyTalk blogposts exploring how the COVID-19 crisis disproportionately impacts people with disabilities.

Action Steps:

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz Weintraub

Tuesdays With Liz

Kenneth Kelty is an AUCD Emerging Leader who was born one month and 25 days before the passage of the ADA. In celebration of #ADA30, Kenneth shares how the ADA has changed his life through education, employment, and self-determination. This video was submitted to AUCD for its annual Tuesdays with Liz video contest.

AUCD thanks all who submitted to this video contest, and encourages everyone with disabilities and their families to continue sharing their voices and collaborating with their local LENDs and UCEDDs. As Liz says, "All means ALL!"


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