AUCD Legislative News In Brief

July 25, 2011

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  July 25, 2011   |  Vol. XI, Issue 30
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ADA Anniversary
Tomorrow, July 26, is the 21st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act!  To celebrate the occasion, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will speak at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)'s annual Justice for All celebration on Capitol Hill. 

Budget & Appropriations
Despite ongoing negotiations, congressional leaders and President Obama have yet to come to agreement on a deal to raise the debt limit as the August 2 deadline approaches.  That is the date when the Treasury Department predicts the nation will begin to default on its debts if the debt limit is not raised.  The sense of urgency for a deal is increasing, as both parties are worried about the economic consequences of a default. 

As of today, two proposals are being discussed.  House Majority Leader Boehner (R-OH) reportedly has a two-step plan that would first raise the debt limit and make significant cuts to discretionary programs, then create a congressional commission that would propose additional spending cuts.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reportedly is developing an alternative plan that calls for a $2.7 trillion increase in the debt limit with an equal amount in deficit reduction without any revenue increases or changes to entitlement programs like Medicaid and Medicare.  Neither proposal is expected to pass both chambers. 

Last week, the House passed the Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011 (H.R. 2560) largely along party lines.  As expected, that measure was promptly defeated in the Senate.  (For more information, see last week's In Brief)  The deficit-reduction package recently released by the bipartisan "Gang of Six" senators has not received much attention in the last few days.  That plan calls for repeal of the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act, a major provision of the Affordable Care Act that would give working adults access to affordable long-term supports and services.  Visit AUCD's Action Center to contact your members of Congress about the need to protect the CLASS Act and preserve Medicaid.

Combating Autism Act
The Senate bill to reauthorize the Combating Autism Act (S. 1094), sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Michael Enzi (R-WY), is scheduled to be considered by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on August 3.  This markup has been postponed on several occasions.  There is no scheduled action on the House bill (H.R. 2005) to date. Please use the sample letter linked to
AUCD's Action Center to encourage your Members to support quick movement on these bills before the law expires on September 30.  Watch for targeted action alerts on this issue as well.

Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) of the Senate HELP Committee and 13 democratic cosponsors introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act (
S. 1403) on Friday.  The bill would gradually increase federal funds for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act over ten years to fund 40 percent of IDEA costs by 2021.  The bill is fully funded by doubling taxes on cigarettes and small cigars and setting equivalent increases to other tobacco products.  In a press release, Chairman Harkin stated, "This bill represents a necessary step for improving educational outcomes for students with disabilities and preparing them to reach their potential and secure competitive employment in our 21st century workforce." 

Representatives Judy Biggert (R-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Dale Kildee (D-MI) recently introduced the Academic, Social and Emotional Learning Act of 2011 (H.R. 2437).  This bipartisan legislation would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to include teacher and principal training in practices that address the social and emotional development needs of students, helping to make them more engaged, successful learners.  AUCD signed on to a letter from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Education Task Force in support of the bill. 

Health Care Reform
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released proposed rules related to the establishment of exchanges and qualified health plans through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  This proposed rule would implement the new Affordable Insurance Exchanges by January 1, 2014 with the intent to "...enhance competition in the health insurance market, improve choice of affordable health insurance, and give small businesses the same purchasing clout as large businesses."  Comments on the proposed rules are being accepted at, (or click here) until September 28, 2011 at 5pm.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has made available a number of resources related to the implementation of health reform linked on the Health Reform section of their site,  Most recently, they have provided state-by-state information related to the establishment of health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.  The site offers information related to the status and purpose of state actions taken, as well as structure and type of exchanges to be implemented.  In addition, information associated with exchange governance (e.g., stakeholder representation, board members and conflicts of interest), grant awards and FAQs is available.

Visit AUCD's Health Reform Hub for ongoing updates on implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Social Security
Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and 18 cosponsors introduced H.R. 2590, the Seniors Protection Act of 2011.  The bill provides a one-time $250 payment to people who receive Social Security and certain other federal payments, due to there being no cost-of-living adjustment in 2011.  The bill covers Social Security retirement, survivors', and disability insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The bill was referred to three House committees.

Representative Bill Posey (R-FL) and six cosponsors introduced H.R. 2581, the Social Security Check Guarantee Act of 2011.  The bill states that the public debt limit shall not prevent or limit timely payment of benefits from the Social Security Trust Funds.  The bill would cover Social Security retirement, survivors', and SSDI benefits, but would not cover SSI.

AUCD Fellowship in Disability Policy Leadership
AUCD will continue to accept applications for the Disability Policy Leadership Fellow until
July 30, 2011.  The Fellowship is an opportunity for an advanced network member to live and work in Washington, DC for one year, learn about AUCD, current legislation affecting people with disabilities and their families, and exercise leadership skills.  For more information and to apply, click here.


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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