AUCD Legislative News In Brief

January 18, 2011

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  January 18, 2011   |  Vol. XI, Issue 3
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Congressional Schedule
The House returns to regular legislative business this week, after postponing all votes last week in light of the shooting in Arizona that killed six and left Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition.  The House will begin seven hours of debate on the health reform repeal bill today with a vote on the measure scheduled for Wednesday (see Health Care Reform below).  After this symbolic vote, the Congress will then turn its attention to measures that have a chance of bipartisan support.  The Senate has yet to announce a specific agenda, but Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said the chamber intends to address the economy, education and energy in the coming months.

Budget & Appropriations
This Wednesday, the House Rules Committee is expected to mark up a bill that requires Budget Chairman Ryan to set a limit on FY 2011 discretionary spending that "assumes a transition to non-security spending at fiscal year 2008 levels."  The House Rules passed earlier this month grant Chairman Ryan the authority to set the discretionary cap for FY 2011.  House Republicans say they will seek to freeze total non-security appropriations at the FY 2008 level for all of FY 2012 as well.  Once Chairman Ryan sets the new discretionary spending cap for FY 2011, House appropriators will begin drafting cuts to current domestic spending.  It is not clear how the Senate or the White House will respond to a spending package that rolls back funding to FY 2008.  President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address next week and deliver his fiscal 2012 budget request to Congress the week of February 14, two weeks before the current continuing resolution that is keeping the government running in FY 2011 expires on March 4.

House Appropriations Committee
Incoming House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) announced the subcommittee chairs and members for the 112th Congress last week.  Rogers also announced that Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Bill Young (R-FL) will be given the title of "Chairman Emeritus" of the Appropriations Committee.  The Republicans on the Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee are as follows: Dennis Rehberg (R-MT), Chairman, Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Rodney Alexander (R-LA), Jack Kingston (R-GA), Kay Granger (R-TX), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).

Health Care Reform
The House begins debate today on the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Reform Law Act", a two-page bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.  The chamber will vote on the measure tomorrow, and although it is expected to pass, it will likely be a strictly partisan vote.  The House will then vote Thursday on a resolution to instruct four committees to report new health care legislation to fulfill the Republican campaign pledge to "repeal and replace".  Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and other Senate Democratic leaders sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) saying they have no plans to debate this repeal legislation.  President Obama has also stated he would veto any repeal efforts that come to his desk.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee plans to hold a series of hearings beginning on January 27 to focus on the Affordable Care Act's protections, likely featuring testimony from individuals who are already benefitting from the law.  AUCD issued a press release for a press conference tomorrow organized by Families USA, along with 130 groups supporting the ACA.  AUCD also issued an action alert urging its members to educate their members of Congress about the importance of the Affordable Care Act for people with disabilities (see AUCD's Action Center).

Health Care/Prevention
The National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, created by the Affordable Care Act to develop a national prevention strategy, has developed a set of draft recommendations.  The recommendations were developed from public input and aim to shift the nation's focus from sickness and disease to wellness and prevention.  AUCD staff participated in one of the meetings intended to gather input from key stakeholders.  The council has representatives from 17 federal departments and agencies who will work together to develop the Strategy, which will consist of a vision, goals, recommendations and action items that can be used to reduce preventable disease, death and disability in the U.S.

Lifespan Respite
The US Administration on Aging (AoA) is requesting input on the reauthorization of the Lifespan Respite Care Program (LRCP) under consideration by Congress this year to be effective in FY 2012.  Suggestions can be submitted through the AoA website until March 31, 2011.  A recent blog post in the New York Times, entitled Wanted: A National Respite System (December 31, 2010) by Karen Stabiner, highlighted the federally-funded Lifespan Respite program, bringing it new national attention.

In related news, the American Psychological Association recently developed a Caregiver Briefcase, an online resource for those who work with family caregivers.  The Briefcase can help professionals recognize, anticipate, and reduce the stresses on family caregivers across the life span.  It provides guidance on how to assist caregivers through individual and organizational practice, research, teaching, and community service. 

Last week, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Nobel Learning Communities, a private, for-profit network of over 180 schools operating in 15 states and the District of Columbia, announced a settlement of a 2009 lawsuit in which the DOJ alleged NLC violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by excluding children with disabilities from its programs.  NLC denies the allegations.  Key provisions of the settlement include implementation, training and dissemination of a disability discrimination policy; the addition of an ADA Compliance Officer; tracking and reporting of applicants and enrollees with disabilities; consideration of reasonable program modifications; and monetary relief to the students named in the complaint.

Disability Policy Seminar
Don't miss your chance to join hundreds of disability advocates and activists for an informative three-day seminar culminating in visits to your Senators and Representatives in Washington! The Seminar takes place February 14-16 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC.  Although early registration rates have ended, registration is still open and the trainee and self-advocate rates do not change.  Register today at! Make hotel reservations online or call 1-888-421-1442.  This year the Seminar will honor disability policy legend Paul Marchand with a special reception and help to establish the Paul Marchand Internship Fund for the future of disability policy.  For more information, see the seminar event page or email [email protected].


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

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