AUCD Legislative News In Brief

May 16, 2011

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  May 16, 2011   |  Vol. XI, Issue 20
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FY 2012 Budget & Appropriations
House Allocations Released
The House Appropriations Committee released subcommittee allocations for FY 2012 on Wednesday.  Overall discretionary spending is capped at $1.109 trillion, $30.4 billion (2.9 percent) below FY 2011 enacted levels.  For the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, the allocation is set at $139.2 billion, a $18.2 billion (11.6 percent) decrease from FY 2011 levels.  The Subcommittee is currently scheduled to mark up the FY 2012 Labor-HHS-Education bill on July 26, with the full committee markup set for August 2.  More information, including the allocation tables and the full schedule of appropriations committee mark-ups, is available at:

Appropriations Hearing on NIH
The Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing Wednesday on the FY 2012 budget request for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  NIH Director Francis Collins testified along with directors of several other institutes.  During his testimony, Dr. Collins cited several examples of cost-savings resulting from NIH-driven improvements in health, as well as studies showing the impact of medical research on jobs and the economy.  Dr. Collins also stated that due to the $322 million cut to NIH in FY 2011, only 17 to 18 percent of NIH grant applications would be funded, the lowest level on record.  Subcommittee members made statements in support of NIH activities.  Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) expressed support for NIH's "vital mission" and interest in learning more about the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS).  Dr. Collins reported that budget details should be available within the next few weeks.  See the full archived hearing on the committee website.

NCD Congressional Forum on Budget
The National Council on Disability (NCD) held a congressional forum Thursday on "Disability in the Budget: Why it Matters."  Members of Congress were invited to testify and join the forum.  Representatives James Langevin (D-RI) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), co-chairs of the Bipartisan Caucus on Disabilities, were among those to provide statements and take questions.  In her testimony, McMorris Rodgers emphasized that the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability policies should be about fulfilling the abilities and ambitions of every American, and not about creating and perpetuating a dependence on the federal government.  Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at the Department of Agriculture also provided testimony along with several witnesses from disability organizations.  NCD Chairman Jonathan Young set the tone by urging bipartisan collaboration as the Congress tries to resolve the country's fiscal challenges and stating that people with disabilities need to be included in the fiscal policy debate.  More information can be found on the NCD website.  

FY 2012 Budget Proposals
AUCD signed onto a letter of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) urging Congress to oppose 2012 budget proposals that include an arbitrarily established cap on future spending.  For example, the Commitment to American Prosperity Act introduced by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Bob Corker (R-TN) would gradually lower the ceiling for all federal spending to 20.6% of GDP by 2020, down from a projected 24.7% this year.  To achieve the savings required by such a cap, the government would have to drastically cut services and make long lasting structural changes to Medicaid and Medicare that would be devastating to people with disabilities.  The proposal also does not account for fundamental changes in society and government that make such a cap unrealistic: the aging of the population, substantial increases in health care costs, and new federal responsibilities in areas such as homeland security, veterans' health care, and prescription drug coverage for seniors.  The CCD letter urges Congress to protect vital programs for vulnerable populations and find savings in areas that also improve the lives of people with disabilities, such as rebalancing Medicaid to provide more home and community-based services versus institutional care. 

Health Care Reform
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday the availability of over $100 million in funding for up to 75 Community Transformation Grants.  Created by the Affordable Care Act, these grants are aimed at helping communities implement projects proven to reduce chronic diseases, improve health, reduce health disparities, and lower health care costs.  The grants will focus on five priority areas, but communities can address additional areas of disease prevention and health promotion, including disabilities and secondary conditions.  The official funding opportunity announcement for the Community Transformation Grants can be found at by searching for CDFA 93.544.  For more information about the grants, visit or

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health passed the State Flexibility Act of 2011 (H.R. 1683) along party lines by a vote of 14-9.  This legislation repeals Medicaid and CHIP Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements under the 2009 stimulus bill and the Affordable Care Act of 2010.  Democrats presented three amendments to protect vulnerable populations during the markup: Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced an amendment to exclude children, Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) introduced an amendment to exclude seniors and people with disabilities, and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced and amendment to exclude mothers of dependent children.  All of the amendments were defeated along party lines.  According to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, if the MOE provision is repealed, large numbers of people with disabilities could lose Medicaid eligibility, threatening their long-term supports and services.  

Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, introduced Friday the Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act (H.R. 1891), a bill that would eliminate 43 federal education programs, including all federal literacy programs, Grants for Mental Health Integration in Schools, Parental Information and Resource Centers, and the Special Education Teacher Training program for the University of Northern Colorado. See the bill summary for a complete list of programs the bill would eliminate.  House Education and Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) is a cosponsor.

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms.

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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