Disability Policy News

October 19, 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)
                 October 19, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 42

Seal of Supreame Court  a traditional seal, which is similar to the Great Seal of the United States, but which has a single star beneath the eagle's claws— symbolizing the Constitution's creation of U.S. Supreme Court

The Senate Judiciary Committee concluded four days of confirmation hearings on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. During the hearings, Judge Barrett answered three rounds of questions from each of the 22 Judiciary Committee members. On the final day of the hearings, five Republican-chosen witnesses supporting her confirmation and five Democrat-chosen witnesses opposing her confirmation testified before the Committee. The Judiciary Committee will vote to advance Judge Barrett's confirmation to the Senate on October 22nd. A full Senate vote is expected by the end of the month. Both the Committee vote and full Senate vote require only a simple majority to pass.

Plain Language:

  • The Senate is moving forward with Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court. AUCD does not support her nomination because she has said she would make a ruling to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.
What this means to you:
  • Judge Amy Coney Barrett is likely to be confirmed to the Supreme Court and it is very possible that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed. Millions of people with disabilities and their families would lose health care access and protections if the ACA is repealed.
Action Steps:

  • Read AUCD's statement opposing the nomination of Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court.
  • Watch the Community Call hosted by AUCD with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) on the importance of the Affordable Care Act for the disability community and all Americans.
  • Learn more about the process of picking a Supreme Court Justice with our Plain Language guide.
  • Read a synopsis of Judge Barrett's record on issues affecting people with disabilities from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.
  • Learn about the upcoming Supreme Court Case on the ACA, California v. Texas.
    • Read the Amicus Brief on the case from the disability community, including AUCD.
  • Read the full Action Alert from AUCD for more details on how to contact your Senators and what to say when you do.
  • Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators.
    • You can use this easy tool to find your Senators, including local office numbers.

    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

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and White House negotiators, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, continued to negotiate a COVID-19 relief package last week to no avail. On Sunday, Speaker Pelosi said she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin must reach an agreement within 48 hours if they want to pass a coronavirus stimulus relief bill before Election Day.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is expected to hold a second vote on the failed ‘skinny' relief bill next week. The vote is seen as a messaging move for vulnerable Senate Republicans heading into elections rather than as an actual sign of progress in negotiations.

    Plain Language:

  • It is extremely unlikely that Congress will pass any additional COVID-19 relief before the November 3rd election.
    What this means to you:

  • It is unlikely that Congress will pass a COVID-19 relief bill that includes funding 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 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.

    • You can use this easy tool to find your members of Congress.
  • Share AUCD's top priorities and your stories about the impact of COVID-19 on your life with your members of Congress.


    blue and yellow logo for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ServicesCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending the public comment period on a request for information seeking input on Recommended Measure Set for Medicaid-Funded Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS). CMS is specifically interested in feedback on potential benefits of and challenges that could result from a nationally available set of recommended quality measures for voluntary use by states, managed care organizations, and other entities that administer and/or deliver Medicaid-funded HCBS. The new due date for comments is November 18, 2020.

    Action steps:

  • Read the official request for information.
  • Submit your comments electronically no later than November 18, 2020 to [email protected]. 

    Seal of the United States Department of Education, colorU.S. Department of Education

    The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights released the 2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which includes self-reported information on issues pertaining to civil rights from over 17,000 public school districts throughout the country. Of the 50.9 million students included in the survey, 13% were reported to be students receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) and 3% students receiving services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The CRDC data show that the 16% of students receiving services under IDEA and Section 504 were significantly disproportionately restrained and secluded in the school setting as compared to their peers receiving general education services.

    Plain language:

The U.S. Department of Education released information about public schools students. The information shows that students with disabilities are secluded, or removed, from their peers more often than students without disabilities. Students with disabilities are also restrained, or stopped from moving, more often than students without disabilities.

    What it means to you:

Students with disabilities still face discrimination in schools. We must work to end these practices in schools.

    black and white image of capitol dome U.S. Senate

    Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to Administrator Seema Verma of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services urging data collection and reporting on COVID-19 cases in congregate care settings. In the letter, the Senators argue that the lack of data and data-driven decision-making risks the health of the people with disabilities, people with mental health, and older individuals who live in these settings.

    Plain language:

  • Some Senators want the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to collect and share information on COVID-19 cases in congregate care settings.
    • Congregate care settings are places where lots of people live together and receive support services, such as nursing homes, long-term residential facilities, and group homes.
What this means to you:

    Action steps:

  • Create a voting plan that meets your needs, reach out for help if you run into a barrier or need more information.
  • Reach out to friends and family to make sure they have a voting plan and the information they need to overcome any barriers.
  • Share why you vote with AUCD.

    logo of AUCD Policy Talk Policy Talk

    "Our process emphasizes not what an employee has to offer, but rather what the person has to offer. Through the discovery process, project staff taught Community Rehabilitation Providers the importance of beginning with the person and identifying the person's skills and employment interests, instead of quickly finding jobs that were simply available."

    This week on AUCD Policy Talk, we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month with a look at promising inclusive employment practices in North Dakota from Michelle Burney, a research associate and project director at the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities.

    Action steps:

  • Read the post: ‘Promising Employment Practices from North Dakota’.
  • Do you have a personal or professional connection to policies impacting people with disabilities? We invite you to share your story with us: 

    Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz Weintraub

    Tuesdays With Liz

    On this week's vintage #TWL, Liz celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month by discussing Employment First efforts with Richard Davis, the Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor in the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).


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