AUCD Legislative News InBrief

May 19, 2008

House and Senate Floor Schedule

The House and Senate have a busy week before the weeklong Memorial Day recess that begins this Friday, May 23.  A conference committee hopes to finalize the FY 2009 Budget Resolution and the Senate will take up a war package approved last week by the House, but will consider, as substitute amendments, a supplemental package approved last week by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Budget conferees hope to wrap up their business Tuesday and consider the conference report on the House floor Wednesday and the Senate Thursday. Also awaiting House floor action is a multibillion-dollar tax extenders bill and possibly the start of debate on the FY09 defense authorization bill. And if all goes just right, both chambers might even schedule override votes after an expected presidential veto of the farm bill.


Medicaid and SCHIP

Last week the House voted on a war supplemental appropriations bill that included a one-year moratorium on the seven Medicaid regulations.  This amendment passed by a vote of 256-166.  Also last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up its version of the war supplemental spending bill.  It contained the Medicaid moratoria as well as a provision to rescind the Bush Administration's August 17 SCHIP directive, which severely limits states' ability to provide SCHIP to children in families above 250 percent of the federal poverty line.  While it is promising that the bills include the Medicaid and SCHIP provisions, these could still be stripped out in the process.  Moreover, the White House could also veto the final bill on grounds of the Medicaid moratoria or inclusion of other domestic spending.  Last week Co-Chairs of the CCD Health and Long-Term Services and Supports Task Forces sent a letter to HHS Secretary Leavitt urging him to reconsider his opposition to the Medicaid moratoria and not recommend a Presidential veto of legislation that would provide a moratorium.


ADA Restoration

The business and disability communities continue to meet to negotiate an agreement to move forward on ADA Restoration this year.  There is still hope the communities can reach an agreement and that Congress will send to the President this year.



Several disability organizations, including the Kennedy-Krieger Institute, are hosting a free webinar tomorrow concerning the newly implemented Medicare competitive bidding program on medical equipment and effects it will have on Medicare beneficiaries.  To register go to the following link:


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

On May 13 the Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services released a notice of proposed rulemaking for the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA). The proposed regulations were not originally included in the notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on June 21, 2005 and therefore have not been available for public comment. The proposed rule addresses five issues: (1) Parental revocation of consent after consenting to the initial provisions of services; (2) a State's or local educational agency's obligation to make positive efforts to employ qualified individuals with disabilities; (3) representation of parents by non-attorneys in due process hearings; (4) State monitoring, technical assistance, and enforcement of the Part B program; and (5) the allocation of funds, under section 611 and 619 of the Act. Public comments are due July 28; AUCD will prepare comments and work with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Education Task Force on joint comments.  Links to the department's summary and the Federal Register Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are on the AUCD policy webpage:


National Service/AmeriCorps

On Friday, May 16, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced the AmeriCorps Act of 2008, legislation which will: 1) Raise the education award to $6,185, the average annual cost of tuition and fees for an instate student at a four year public university; 2) Make the education award tax exempt; 3) Restore the Corporation's previous authority to partner with other Federal agencies to use national service as  strategy to carry out Departments' priorities; and, promote the Corporation for National and Community Service to Cabinet level status.  See full text of the bill:


Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2008 (H.R. 5876)

On April 23 Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Carolyn McCarthy (R-NY) introduced a bill to stop abuse and fatalities in residential treatment programs for teens. H.R. 5876 would amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) by requiring Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish new national accountability standards for all private residential programs. The legislation also includes provisions that allow HHS to enforce the national standards. The National Child Abuse Coalition sent a letter in support of H.R. 5876.


For copies of this and previous issues of Legislative News In Brief please visit the Public Policy Page of the AUCD website: