AUCD Legislative News InBrief

October 20, 2008

Congressional Elections

The Elections are only two weeks away.  Most of the attention has been focused on the very close Presidential race between Senators Obama and McCain.  However, the congressional makeup of the House and Senate could change rather dramatically too.  Currently, the Senate make up is 49-51 with 2 independents that caucus with the Democrats (Sanders, VT and Lieberman, CT) giving them the majority.  Election pundits are predicting the Democrats to gain 6-10 seats (9 would give the Democrats the magic 60 to be able to overcome filibusters).  The following Senate seats have been identified as most vulnerable to switching parties:  VA (open-R), NM (open-R), NH (Sununu -R), CO (Open -R), OR (Smith-R), NC (Dole-R), MN (Coleman-R), AK (Stevens-R), MS (Wicker-R), GA (Chambliss-R), KY (McConnell-R), LA (Landrieu-D), MN (Collins-R), MN (Coleman-R), NJ (Lautenberg-D), OK (Inhofe-R). In the House, the latest projections indicate the Democrats could pick up a net gain of 20 to 30 seats.


Presidential Elections

AUCD's policy page contains links to resources regarding the disability policy positions of the presidential candidates.  Last week, AUCD provided a link to a 2-page summary analysis of all the presidential candidates' positions on key disability issues recently published by Minnesota's Access Express:


To find the candidates that will be on the ballet in your states, type in your zip code in AUCD's election Center: 


Post Election Update

A week after the election, AUCD is hosting a plenary panel on the Post Election Outcome and the road ahead on disability policy. This panel, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 12, features Nathan Gonzales, political editor of The Rothenberg Political Report.  Gonzales will discuss the new political map as a result of the elections.  Marty Ford, Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, will discuss the impact of the elections on the disability agenda. Finally, Julio Abreu, President of the Coalition on Health Funding, has been invited to discuss the budget and appropriations outlook for the coming year.  The deadline to register for AUCD's full annual meeting and conference is this Friday.  Visit the AUCD website to register and to get more information.


National Family Caregiver Support Program

AUCD is working with staff of the Senate HELP and House Education and Labor Committees to draft a technical correction bill concerning the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP).  During the 2006 reauthorization of the Older Americans Act AUCD and other disability organizations advocated for the inclusion of language to expand the NFCSP to older caregivers of adults with developmental and other disabilities.  There are over 711,000 caregivers over the age of 60 providing care to adults with developmental disabilities.  Unfortunately, the Administration on Aging interpreted the language in the reauthorization as still not including this population.  The technical correction would restore Congressional intent.


ADA Resources

The Georgetown University Law Center has developed a website archive on the ADA: This site serves as a comprehensive, online archive of documents and history related to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).  Here you can find the text of the law, legislative history, congressional hearings, Supreme Court cases, federal regulations, policy and advocacy documents and additional information related to the passage of the original ADA and the ADAAA. The majority of these documents are explained or cited in the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, an article by Chai Feldblum, Kevin Barry and Emily Benfer (click here to view documents as cited in the article).  The article also provides an overview and history of the ADA and ADAAA. 



Congress is in recess, with the exception of periodic pro forma sessions in the Senate.  The Senate has been holding hearings regarding the health of the economy.  A new economic stimulus package could be considered during a lame duck session following the elections.  Among the provisions under discussion are financial assistance to states (including an increase in the FMAP), unemployment insurance, expansion of food stamps, and funding for infrastructure.  In today's hearing, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke backed the idea of a new round of government stimulus. "If the Congress proceeds with a fiscal package, it should consider including measures to help improve access to credit by consumers, home buyers, businesses and other borrowers," Bernanke told the House Budget Committee in prepared testimony.