AUCD Legislative News In Brief

April 27, 2009

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FY 2010 Budget

According to Hill news sources, House and Senate negotiators have struck a tentative deal on major elements of the fiscal 2010 budget resolution that includes reconciliation instructions. The use of reconciliation and the amount of money to allocate to the annual appropriations bills have been the two biggest issues for negotiators to resolve. The compromise also would cut $10 billion from President Obama's discretionary spending request. The negotiators plan to hold a formal conference committee meeting April 27. Democratic leaders would like to have the final budget adopted next week. The budget resolution is expected to instruct several committees - Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in the Senate and Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor in the House - to produce legislation later this year that would save $1 billion. This would allow health care and student loan legislation to be moved later in the year through reconciliation. The House's budget conferees are Spratt, Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Allen Boyd, D-Fla., Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas. The Senate conferees are Conrad, Gregg and Patty Murray, D-Wash.

National Service
On April 21st President Barack Obama signed The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.  This legislation provides $5.7 billion dollars to create and support service initiatives and to incrementally triple the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years as well as expand ways for individuals with disabilities to serve.  The President also nominated Maria Eitel, President of the Nike Foundation, to lead the federal agency that oversees the country's national service programs.  Eitel will have to be confirmed by the Senate to become CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.  The website was launched yesterday with the signing of the Edward M. Kennedy National Service Act. The website aims to serve as a place for Americans to find ways to serve in their own communities.

Hate Crimes Legislation

The House Judiciary Committee passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes  Prevention Act of 2009 (HR 1913) which makes it easier for federal law enforcement to assist state and local entities in investigating hate crimes as well as broaden the definition of individuals who are covered under the law.  The bill may be considered on the House floor as soon as next week. The bill still has to be introduced in the Senate where it is unclear if it has the 60 votes needed for passage.

Lifespan Respite Care Implementation

AUCD has been working with a coalition of groups and the White House to make a recommendation for full funding of $71.1 million for Lifespan Respite in FY 2010.  Rep. Langevin (D-RI) authored a letter signed by 12 House Members to the Appropriations subcommittee leaders requesting full funding.  AUCD also signed onto a letter with other national organizations to the House and Senate Appropriators making the same request. Only $2.5 million was appropriated for Lifespan Respite in FY09.  It was recently announced that the Administration on Aging will be the administering agency for the new program.  AUCD met with Department officials to discuss the implementation of the Act.  A program announcement is expected within the next few weeks. 

Secretary of Health and Human Services

The Senate Finance Committee voted 15-8 on April 21st to approve Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' nomination to become Health and Human Services secretary, despite dissent from key Republicans such as Senators Grassley (R-IA), Enzi (R-WY) and Kyl (R-AZ). A vote is expected in the Senate soon.

Disability Policy Seminar

AUCD legislative affairs staff will be out of the office participating in the policy seminar from April 27-29.  Fact sheets with action steps for all of the issues covered at the seminar are now posted on AUCD's website.