AUCD Legislative News InBrief

December 1, 2008

The National Governors Association (NGA) is meeting with House Democratic leaders today and President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect tomorrow to discuss the economic stimulus package Congress is preparing for early January.  A joint press release issued today by NGA and the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) calls for a temporary, two-year increase in the federal share of Medicaid funding, the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP).


The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) sent a letter to President-elect Obama and the transition team indicating immediate priorities for the next Administration.  The recommendations include adoption of FY09 spending bills at the highest possible level, a temporary Medicaid FMAP increase, additional funding for SSA to reduce disability backlogs, funding for the Veterans Affairs health care system, funding for new Section 8 vouchers, reinstatement of an executive order issued during the Clinton Administration to hire 100,000 qualified individuals with disabilities in the federal government, and signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The letter accompanies the larger CCD transition recommendations

In other transition news, Sharon Lewis, Disability staffer for Chairman George Miller (D-CA) (and recent AUCD Gold Star recipient), has been named to the Obama Transition Team.  She will be the lead person conducting an agency review for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).  This includes the Office of Special Education Programs, the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.  She will be detailed to the Transition Team for several weeks to conduct this work.

Obama Cabinet

President-elect Obama announced the selection of Senator Clinton (D-NY) as Secretary of State today, which if confirmed by the Senate would result in another key vacancy on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.   Following are other nominations to serve in President-elect Obama's cabinet to date:

  • Attorney General: Eric Holder, Obama advisor and former Deputy Attorney General in Clinton Administration
  • Commerce: New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson
  • Defense: Robert Gates, current Secretary of Defense
  • Health and Human Services (HHS): Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader
  • Treasury: Tim Geithner, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President

FY 09 Appropriations

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is sending a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to craft a final fiscal 2009 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill that includes the highest possible funding level for programs that empower people with disabilities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.  The letter urges leaders to take the higher levels of the proposed funding for those programs in the House and Senate bill.    

Only two of 13 annual appropriations bills were signed into law before the 110th Congress adjourned.  This means that the new Administration and Congress will have to finalize last year's appropriations before beginning to work on funding for FY 2010 and hopefully will not choose to pass a full year continuing resolution.

Autism State Legislation Database

The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Autism Project has released an on-line legislative database to track autism bills for the 2008- 2009 legislative sessions.  The NCSL State Autism Legislative Database and Website were developed by NCSL under contract with Act Early Regional Summit Project at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and with funding from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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

Economic Stimulus