AUCD Legislative News In Brief

June 6, 2011

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  June 6, 2011   |  Vol. XI, Issue 23
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Congressional Schedule
The Senate returns from a week-long recess. The House is on recess this week. 

FY 2012 Budget & Appropriations
Several appropriations panels will hold hearings on fiscal 2012 spending throughout the week.  The Senate Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the proposed FY 2012 Education Department appropriations with Secretary Arne Duncan testifying.  The L-HHS-ED Appropriations bill is tentatively scheduled to be marked up in the House subcommittee on July 26 with full committee markup on August 3.  No schedule is set for Senate markup.  Action on funding bills has been delayed because the House and Senate have not yet agreed to overall funding amounts.  A group of six Members of Congress led by Vice President Joe Biden will continue negotiations on an overall budget this week.  Members of this group include Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), John Kyl (R-AZ), Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), and Representatives Eric Cantor (R-VA), James E. Clyburn (D-SC), and Chris Van-Hollen (D-MD).  Meanwhile, the House voted against a measure to raise the debt ceiling (for more information, see the May 2nd In Brief).  The Republican leadership continues to demand deep cuts in spending as a condition for raising the federal limit.  The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on deficit reduction with a focus on the role of revenue.

The House Judiciary Committee began consideration of a "balanced budget amendment" (H J Res.1) introduced by Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA).  This resolution would amend the U.S. Constitution to require the federal government to limit spending to the amount it takes in each year.  It would also limit total outlays for any year to one-fifth of the Gross Domestic Product, among other limitations.  The Senate is not likely to take up the resolution.

Health Care Reform
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that it will reduce premiums and make other changes to the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) created by the Affordable Care Act.  These "high risk pools" were designed to serve as a bridge for people with pre-existing medical conditions until the law is fully implemented in 2014, but enrollment has been lower than expected since they started operating last summer.  The changes will affect only federally-run plans in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and are designed to make it easier for consumers to enroll in the plans and access affordable health care coverage.  In 2014, private insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage because of an individual's pre-existing condition.  Until then, the PCIP plays an essential role in ensuring access to care.  To find out about the PCIP in your state, visit

AUCD signed on to a
letter from the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities opposing the State Flexibility Act of 2011 (H.R. 1683) passed by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health last month.  This legislation repeals Medicaid and CHIP Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements under the 2009 stimulus law (ARRA) and the Affordable Care Act of 2010 which, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, could result the loss of health insurance for 300,000 individuals.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated in a February 2011 report that large numbers of people with disabilities could lose eligibility for long-term supports and services.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the availability of approximately $20 million to fund programs to improve education, training and employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities through the Disability Employment Initiative.  The Initiative is a joint project of the Department's Employment and Training Administration and its Office of Disability Employment Policy. Its goals are to improve coordination and collaboration across multiple service delivery systems, build effective partnerships and leverage public and private resources to better serve people with disabilities.  The complete solicitation for applications is available at

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday a settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act with Wells Fargo & Company.  The agreement resolves numerous ADA complaints filed by individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities who allege that Wells Fargo would not do business with them over the phone using a telecommunications relay service.  Wells Fargo worked cooperatively to address all ADA issues in its retail and financial services.  As part of the settlement, it will pay up to $16 million in individual compensation to those harmed by the ADA violations, and a $55,000 civil penalty to the United States.  It will also take a number of steps to improve access for customers with disabilities. 

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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