Disability Policy News

September 8, 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)
                 September 8, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 36

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. COVID-19

 There was no further legislative action on COVID-19 relief taken last week. The Senate returns from its August Recess on September 8th, and Senate Republicans are expected to introduce a $497 billion ‘skinny’ version of their HEALS Act called the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools, and Small Business Act. Of note to the disability community, the proposed Act does not include money for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) and education services provided by the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), and retains the civil rights (including ADA) liability waivers that were first proposed in the HEALS Act. Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has already issued a letter to his Senate colleagues denouncing the ‘skinny’ bill as inept and urging lawmakers to instead pass more comprehensive legislation. It is increasingly unlikely that a standalone COVID-19 relief package will pass as lawmakers turn their attention to the end of the Fiscal Year on September 30th

Updates on the August 8th COVID-19 Executive Orders:

  • Eviction moratorium: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued an order halting evictions for some renters in response to President Trump's Executive Order to evaluate the need for rental assistance. The order applies to evictions through December 31st and requires renters to pay back any missed rent.
  • Expanded unemployment insurance: Only five states out of the 36 that applied for the continued unemployment insurance authorized through executive action have begun issuing the $300/week checks. However, this relief is now in jeopardy because the federal funds were taken from the budget of FEMA, which must now address damage caused by Hurricane Laura.

Plain language:

  • The Senate is coming back to work today and Republican Senators might introduce a bill for COVID-19 relief. Republicans and Democrats still have very different ideas about what is needed to help people during COVID-19. The President took some actions in August that have helped some people who have lost their jobs and people who cannot pay their rent.

What this means to you:

  • It is very possible that Congress will not spend any additional money to help people with disabilities and the people who support them. It is also possible that Congress will pass a law that takes away some civil rights protections during COVID-19. 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:

  • Learn more about the Senate Republicans' proposed 'skinny' bill: 
  • Check out the updated 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.

  • list with check marksPresidential Campaign 2020

    Moderators were announced for the 2020 Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates. Watching debates is one way to learn more about candidates.



    Action Steps:


    • Check out the schedule released by the Commission on Presidential Debates
      • September 29: Presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
      • October 7: Vice Presidential debate at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Moderated by USA TodayWashington bureau chief Susan Page.
      • October 15: Town hall-style presidential debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida. Moderated by C-SPAN political editor Steve Scully.
      • October 22: Presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Moderated by NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.

    medical injection needle and calendar, black and whiteCOVID-19 Vaccine

    Public health officials have begun discussion how a potential COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed if and when a vaccine is ready. The Committee on Equitable Allocation for the Novel Coronavirus of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have released an initial framework for equitable distribution and took public comments last week before securing a final recommendation. 

    Plain Language:

    • Scientists are working on a vaccine to protect people against COVID-19. Scientists are also working on a plan to give people the vaccine when it is ready.

    What it means to you:

    • Many people with disabilities have medical conditions that could make COVID-19 especially bad if they get it. It is important that people with disabilities and the people around them get a COVID-19 vaccine to stay safe and healthy.

    Action Steps:

    hand putting ballot in boxVoting 2020

    Election Day is Tuesday, November 3! If we’re going to make an impact in every election, we have to be registered to vote. Now is the time to confirm your registration status and to register if needed.   


    Action Steps:

    logo of AUCD Policy TalkAUCD Policy Talk

    "We must advocate for specific funding for direct support professionals that support people with disabilities, sick and paid leave for those caring for their loves ones with disabilities, specified funding for Medicaid home and community-based services, stimulus payments to all people with disabilities, and dedication to nondiscriminatory practices in health care."

    In this week's Policy Talk, Kiley McLean, a social work doctoral student and LEND Trainee at University of Wisconsin-Madison, urges advocates and lawmakers to remember the rights and needs of people with disabilities, their families, and support network in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. 

    Action Steps:

    Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz Weintraub

    Tuesdays With Liz

    In this week’s vintage #TWL, Liz discusses the importance of being an educated voter. It’s important to do YOUR research and know who YOU want to vote for! 


    Subscribe to Updates  Browse Archived Issues


    For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

    For definitions of terms, please see AUCD's List of Policy Definitions