AUCD Legislative News In Brief

August 9, 2010

Medicaid & Education Funding
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called her chamber back from its month-long recess this week to vote on a $26 billion domestic spending bill to extend enhanced federal Medicaid funding for states and provide education funds to avert layoffs of an estimated 138,000 school employees this fall.  The Senate passed the measure 61-39 Thursday.  The bill provides $16.1 billion to extend the enhanced federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for six months, phasing out those funds until their expiration.  The bill provides $10 billion to save teacher jobs just in time for the start of the school year.  The bill's cost is fully offset, but some have voiced concern over spending cuts to other programs, namely the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) - more commonly known as food stamps.  The bill would end increased food stamp benefits that were part of the 2009 stimulus package.  Pelosi has voiced concern about such cuts and will likely seek assurances from the White House that it will find a way to restore funding to the program. 

Families USA has created talking points about why Congress should extend the temporary FMAP increase as well as an interactive map that allows people check how their senator voted on FMAP funding. To thank your Senators who voted for the increase and to contact your Representative to urge support, please visit AUCD's Action Center.

FY 2011 Appropriations
As reported in last week's Legislative News In Brief, the Senate Committee passed its annual appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education for Fiscal Year 2011.  The August 2 issue reported on information about AUCD network funding (see also table below). 


FY 2010


FY 2011 House



FY 2011 Senate







Administration for Children and Families





        University Centers for Excellence in DD



41.0 (+2.0)

40.0 (+1.0)

        DD Councils



77.4 (+2.4)

76.0 (+1.0)

        Protection & Advocacy Systems



42.0 (+1.0)

42.0 (+1.0)

        Projects of National Significance



14.1 (0.0)

14.2 (+0.2)

Child Abuse Prevention
The Senate Appropriation Committee's Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill sets funding for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) programs at $105.5 million, an increase of $8.3 million over 2010 funding.  The bill level funds basic state grants at $26.5 million and community-based child abuse prevention grants receive $41.7 million.  Discretionary grants received a $10 million increase, designated for "a new competitive grant program to support States' implementation and increased use of evidenced-based child maltreatment prevention programs and activities."  The House Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee has approved its bill, but details will not be released until the bill is approved by the full Appropriations Committee.

Lifespan Respite
The Senate bill also includes $7 million for Lifespan Respite, which is $2 million more than the President's request and $4.5 million more than FY 2010 funding. It also includes an increase of $48 million for the National Family Caregiver Support Program for total funding of $202.2 million, and $2 million for the Native American Caregiver Support Program for a total of $8.4 million.

IDEA Funding
The Senate Committee recommends $11.9 billion for Part B special education grants to States, a slight increase over the current funding level ($11.5 billion). The President requested $11.7 billion.

The Senate Appropriations report with details about other program funding is now publicly available.  The House Committee has not publicly released details regarding its funding bill.

Rosa's Law
On August 5 the Senate adopted, by unanimous consent, Rosa's Law (S. 2781).  This bill would change the terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" to "intellectual disability" and "intellectually disabled" in various federal laws that primarily relate to education and employment.  The bill is solely intended to eliminate antiquated terminology.  A House companion bill, the Elizabeth A. Connelly Act (H.R. 4544), is still awaiting committee action.

Education/ PBIS
Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Al Franken (D-MN) on Thursday introduced the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support and Early Intervening Services to Improve Student Academic Achievement Act (S. 3733).  The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to allow State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and schools to increase implementation of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports and early intervening services in order to improve student academic achievement, reduce over-identification of individuals with disabilities, and reduce disciplinary problems in schools, and to improve coordination with similar activities and services provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  AUCD signed onto a letter to the three Senators in support of its introduction.  The next step is for the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to mark up the bill.

Social Security and Medicare
The Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees released its annual report on the current and projected financial status of the two programs. The board found that the financial status of Medicare has been "substantially improved" by provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is now expected to remain solvent until 2029, 12 years longer than last year's projection.  ACA is also expected to substantially reduce costs for the Medicare Supplementary Medical Insurance program.  Due to the recession, the outlook for Social Security has not changed much from last year. However, the 75-year outlook is somewhat improved by a provision in ACA that is expected to cause a higher share of labor compensation to be paid in the form of wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax. Unfortunately, the board found that the Disability Insurance Trust Fund is projected to become exhausted in 2018, two years earlier than last year's projection.  A
summary of the report is also available.

Home and Community Based Services
AUCD staff recently asked UCEDD and LEND directors to complete a short survey to help AUCD and other advocacy organizations understand how they can provide tools and assist state-level efforts to protect and strengthen Medicaid Home and Community Based Services programs.  The survey was developed by the Friday Morning Collaborative, an informal group of twenty national disability and aging advocacy groups that have worked together to improve public policy on long-term services and supports.  AUCD, as part of the Friday Morning Collaborative, worked to successfully include a number of important provisions in the health reform law, including the CLASS Act.  If you would like to provide input, please complete the short survey at

Health Reform
Please visit
AUCD's Health Reform Hub for information and resources on the Affordable Care Act.