AUCD Legislative News In Brief

April 6, 2009

Listen Audio

Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are on Spring recess from April 6-17.  This is a great time to visit with your Members of Congress while they are in their home districts.  See AUCD's Action Center for talking points and action steps.

FY 2010 Budget

On April 2, the Senate approved the FY10 budget resolution. The House approved its version earlier on the same day. The Senate overall budget plan is $15 million under the plan proposed by President Obama. The House plan is closer to the President's numbers but is still $7 million less than the President's. Both House and Senate resolutions include deficit-neutral reserve funds for healthcare, energy and education legislation. During its consideration, the Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Orin Hatch (R-UT) recommending full funding of the Title V MCH Services Block Grant in the FY 2010 Budget.  The Senate also approved an amendment sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Christopher Bond (R-MO) to provide funds "to establish or expand programs of early childhood visitation that increase school readiness, child abuse and neglect prevention, and early identification of developmental and health delays."  The next step is for the House and Senate to work out the differences between the two bills in conference following the two week Spring recess.  Once a final budget resolution is passed by Congress, the 13 Appropriations Subcommittees will receive allocations and they can begin to develop the annual appropriations bills.

FY 2010 Appropriations

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) sent a with 17 colleagues to the Appropriations Committee leaders in support of increased funding for Developmental Disabilities programs.  The letter with the list of Members who signed on is online at:  AUCD met with House majority and minority Committee staff last week to discuss current activities of the UCEDD and LEND programs.  Last month AUCD's president testified before the House Appropriations Committee regarding DD program needs.

ASD Services

On April 2, Sens. Durbin (D-IL), Casey (D-PA), and Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act (S. 819). This bill was originally drafted with President Obama when he was in the Senate near the end of the 111th Congress. The new bill incorporates some of the provisions of the Expanding the Promise to Individuals with Autism Act introduced by Sen. Clinton in the last Congress, including a revised version of the interdisciplinary training provision to increase the number of professionals skilled to work with individuals with ASD. AUCD worked with CCD and other advocacy groups to provide input before introduction.  The bill was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. No similar bill has been introduced in the House. See the bill text and summary on AUCD's website:

National Service

On March 31, the House approved the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (HR 1388) by a bipartisan vote of 275-149. The bill was previously passed in the House as the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act. The Senate amended and passed the bill March 26 by an overwhelmingly bipartisan margin, 79-19.  The bill, renamed in honor of Senator Edward Kennedy, authorizes a significant expansion of the volunteer national service programs for Americans of all ages, including increased opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in national service (see also March 23 In Brief).  The President is expected to sign it.

Crime Victims

Representative John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913). This bill passed overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives in the 110th Congress and was supported by AUCD.  Sen. Kennedy is expected to introduce a companion bill in the Senate soon.  President Obama has stated his support for this legislation.

Stimulus/ARRA and VR

On April 1, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) made the following ARRA formula grant awards:  50 percent of the ARRA Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grant Program funds;  100 percent of the Independent Living (IL) State Grant Program funds; and  100 percent of the IL Services for Older Individuals Who are Blind (OIB) Program funds. State VR agencies are encouraged to consider serving individuals on waiting lists in agencies currently using an order of selection; increasing services to eligible consumers; and expanding services to traditionally underserved and unserved populations in the state, including students with disabilities transitioning from school to the workplace.

AUCD Staff also attended a guidance meeting on April 6 hosted by the Department. Fact Sheets and Guidance are all on the recovery website:

Health Care Reform

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) issued a set of principles on health care reform and individuals with disabilities.  AUCD joined other disability organizations in signing on in support of the principles which will be distributed to members of Congress and the Administration.  Congress is expected to move quickly on health care reform when they return from recess on April 20.  The Senate Finance Committee plans to have a bill in committee in June. 

Long-Term Services and Supports

Approximately 100 national aging and disability organizations have signed on in support of including long-term services and supports in health care reform.  While momentum is building, continued action is needed during the two-week recess.  Please urge your members of Congress to support the Community Choice Act (S.683/H.R.1670) and the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act (S.697/H.R.1721).  If you have a member on the Senate Finance Committee please meet with them while they are in their home offices over recess.  You can access a list of Finance Committee members and their contact information here.  You can also send a prepared e-mail message to members of the Senate and House asking them to support the Community Choice Act and CLASS Act through the AUCD Action Center.    

Lifespan Respite Care Act

AUCD and other disability organizations met with the HHS Office on Disability and the Obama Administration to discuss implementation of the Lifespan Respite Care Act which received $2.5 million in funding for FY09.  AUCD also assisted with circulating a "dear colleague" letter which asks for full funding of $71.1 million for FY10.  Several lifespan respite summits are occurring in states over the next several months: Indiana (April 8), Illinois (April 23), Oregon (May 5), New York (May 19), Maine (June 11), and California (September 23).    

Workforce Investment Act

AUCD signed onto a letter transmitting CCD's principles for the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).  The letter was sent to Chairman Miller (D-CA) of the House Education and Labor Committee. This letter includes suggestions for improvements to job training programs, more streamlined funding and increased accountability measures. (see the letter on AUCD's website under Policy.

Child Abuse Prevention

An estimated 3.2 million referrals of possible abuse and neglect cases were made to state child protective services (CPS) agencies in the United States in 2007.  According to the report, Child Maltreatment 2007, released this month by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), less than two-thirds of the referrals -- 1.97 million -- were accepted by CPS for an investigation, resulting in an estimated 794,000 children found to be victims of child abuse and neglect.  That number of child victims of maltreatment is down by 111,000 from the 2006 HHS report.  Victims with a reported disability numbered 8.1 percent. In general, children with risk factors such as mental retardation, emotional disturbance, visual or hearing impairment, learning disability, physical disability, behavioral problems, or another medical problem are undercounted, as not every child receives a clinical diagnostic assessment from CPS agency staff. The high number of abused and neglected children without services remains particularly troubling - over one-third of child victims (37.9 percent) received no services following a substantiated report of maltreatment.