Disability Policy News

September 14, 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 14, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 37

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

Upon returning to Washington last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introducing a $497 billion COVID-19 relief act. Considered a ‘skinny’ version of the $1 trillion HEALS Act, the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools, and Small Businesses Act (S.Amdt.2652) was voted down 52-47 along party lines, with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) joined Democrats in voting no. The continued partisan disagreement over the scope of relief needed to address COVID-19 makes it increasingly unlikely that a standalone COVID-19 relief package will pass before the November election. The House of Representatives returns from their August recess today and both chambers are expected to turn their attentions to funding the government past the end of the Fiscal Year on September 30th.


Plain language:

  • The Senate voted on a bill for COVID-19 relief but it did not pass. Republicans and Democrats still have very different ideas about what is needed to help during COVID-19. It is likely there will be no more COVID-19 bills for a while. 

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 COVID-19 relief act voted on last week: 
  • 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.

  • seal of House of Represenatives THRIVE

    Democrats in the House of Representqtives, led by Rep. Haaland, Debra A. [D-NM], introduced House Resolution 1102 recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to implement an agenda to Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) on Friday, September 11, 2020. This resolution reflects a framework to address issues like climate change, COVID-19, economic recovery, and racial injustice, and includes language recognizing issues affecting people with disabilities and chronic illness, among other often underrepresented groups.


    Plain language:


    • Democrats in the House are sharing big ideas about how to make things better. These ideas are not bills, but they tell us about bills we could see in the future. 

    What it means to you:


    • As members of Congress start to plan for legislative debates and efforts in 2021, they need to hear from you about how the disability community will be impacted. 

    Action Steps:


    • Read the resolution.
    • 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.
      • You can use this easy tool to find your members of Congress.
      • Share your thoughts on the THRIVE agenda with your members. 

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

    The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of nine pharmaceutical companies signed a pledge committing to safety, ethical, and transparency safeguards in the development of COVID-19 vaccines. The CEOs cited a desire to ensure public confidence in any COVID-19 vaccines approved in the United States and globally. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a committee hearing entitled, ‘Vaccines: Saving Lives, Ensuring Confidence, and Protecting Public Health’ with Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Jerome Adams, the Surgeon General of the United States. In the hearing, both Collins and Adams affirmed their commitment to overseeing the production and distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

    Plain Language:

    • Many companies that invent and make new medicines are trying to make a vaccine for COVID-19. The leaders of these companies and the medical leaders in the United States government want people to know that a vaccine will be safe.

    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 when a vaccine becomes available.

    Action Steps:

    • Read the pledge taken by the nine pharmaceutical companies. 
    • Watch the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on vaccines. 
    • Read AUCD’s letter to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine urging the equitable inclusion of people with disabilities in future COVID-19 vaccine allotment.

    hand putting ballot in boxVoting 2020

    Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd! AUCD has tools and a taped webinar with CART and ASL to help you make a plan and support others in making and using their voting plan.   


    Action Steps:

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    Check out AUCD's policy resource, a one-page fact sheet to help explain AUCD's policy efforts, and engage with us today!

    Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz Weintraub

    Tuesdays With Liz

    On this week's vintage #TWL, Liz talks about voting by mail. This year with COVID-19, it’s not only important to VOTE, but to be SAFE while doing so. One way to stay safe is to vote by mail if you can.


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