AUCD Legislative News In Brief

February 17, 2009

Economic Recovery Bill

A special report on the economic recovery plan was sent out on February 15th and is available on the AUCD website (  Today President Obama traveled to Denver, Colorado to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law.

Budget and Appropriations

In looking past the economic stimulus plan to fiscal year 2009 appropriations Democrats are hoping to focus on an appropriations omnibus while Republicans have advocated for another continuing resolution (the current CR expires on March 6th) in order to have more time to consider funding allocations.  The omnibus would not contain fiscal 2009 appropriations for Defense, Homeland Security or Veteran's Affairs because these were passed in September's minibus.  Democrats hope to clear a nine bill omnibus, which includes the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education funding bill, after the President's Day Recess.

Congressional Schedule

Congress is not in session due to a weeklong President's Day district work period.  This is a great time to schedule meetings with your representative as they are working from their home office on district issues.

Long-Term Services and Supports

Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Grassley (R-IA) reintroduced the Empowered at Home Act (S. 434) on February 13.  Also, Representatives Capps (D-CA) and Terry (R-NE) recently introduced H.R. 868, the Direct Support Professionals Fairness and Security Act of 2009.  The Community Choice Act is expected to be reintroduced in March or early April, coinciding with a possible Hill event.  Last year, the Community Choice Act had a record number of bi-partisan cosponsors in the House and Senate.  Assistance is needed in contacting members of Congress and asking them to sign on as an original co-sponsor.               

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) and the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) are working together to urge the inclusion of long-term services and supports in comprehensive health care reform.  AUCD is playing a leadership role in these efforts.  Grassroots coalitions are being organized in three key states: Nevada, Montana, and North Dakota.  UCEDDs in these states are assisting with these efforts.  A hearing on long-term services and supports is scheduled for March 4 in the Senate Special Aging Committee.  Prior to this hearing will be a national call-in day to urge Senators to include long-term services in health care reform.  Grassroots op ed pieces on long-term services are also being encouraged.

Cabinet Nominations
In an effort to replace the name of Thomas A. Daschle to run HHS the Obama administration is beginning to develop a potential list of replacements  including hospital executive Lloyd Dean, Jack Lew from OMB and the Clinton White House, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and  John D. Podesta head of the Obama transition team.

Child Abuse in Residential Programs

AUCD staff attended a House Education and Labor Committee mark up session of the legislation (HR 911) which would increase federal oversight of public and private teen residential programs.  This bill authorizes $15 million in grants to develop a set of minimum standards and issue regulations to states. The legislation was approved by the committee without additional amendments. The next step is for full House consideration.

Workforce Investment Act

On February 12th the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing related to "New Innovations and Best Practices Under the Workforce Investment Act."  Stephen Wooderson from Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services provided testimony concerning the role of people with disabilities in the workforce and the need for providing vocational training to individuals with disabilities. Testimony is available at 

Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy
Kareem Dale, a former member of Obama's campaign in charge of coordinating the vote of Americans with disabilities, has been named the special assistant to the president for disabilities policy. Vice President Joe Biden made the announcement to a small group of Special Olympics athletes, volunteers and coordinators last week. The Vice President was in Boise to attend a portion of the Special Olympics World Winter Games with a presidential delegation including U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.   Chester Finn in his capacity as president of the national board of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) participated in the event with the Vice President.

Disability Policy Seminar

A New Era:  Embracing Opportunities In The Face Of Grave Challenges, the 2009 Disability Policy Seminar theme, will explore the unique challenges and opportunities facing the new 111th Congress and Obama Administration brought about by the 2008 election results and the economic crisis. At the 2009 Seminar, hundreds of disability advocates from around the country will gather to discuss a wide range of public policy issues affecting people with disabilities and their families.  We expect the following public policy issues will take center stage: Budget and Appropriations, Entitlements (Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security), Health Care and Long Term Services Reform, Developmental Disabilities Act, and Employment, among others. The seminar will be held on April 27-29, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  This seminar is sponsored by AUCD in partnership with The Arc, UCP, AAIDD, NACDD and our newest partner, Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE).  Please register online before April 3 to avoid any penalties.  The Hotel will also fill up fast.  All of the information you need is on our Events page.

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