AUCD Legislative News In Brief

August 29, 2011

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  August 29, 2011   |  Vol. XI, Issue 35
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Congressional Schedule
Congress remains on recess until after Labor Day.  Thanks to those of you who have been actively contacting your Members of Congress to educate them about policy issues that impact people with disabilities and the AUCD network.  Please remember to report any significant information you may receive during these contacts.

Budget & Appropriations
There is a lot of uncertainty and confusion about how Congress will proceed on FY 2012 appropriations bills.  The new fiscal year begins on October 1 and Congress is not even close to finalizing any of the 12 annual appropriations bills.  No committee markups of appropriations bills have been scheduled, though there are rumors that some may occur as early as September 8.

Since the Senate never passed its Budget Resolution, it is assumed that it will use the discretionary caps established by the recently-enacted Budget Control Act (BCA). The FY2012 levels established by the Ryan Budget still stand in the House, which are significantly lower than the BCA levels for non-security discretionary programs. For Labor-HHS-ED bill specifically, the House Budget Resolution is an $18 billion reduction from FY 2011 funding levels. Despite the higher discretionary level established in the BCA, there is nothing that requires the House adjust to the BCA levels.

It is fairly certain that at least one continuing resolution (CR) will be necessary to keep the government operating past September 30. It is still unclear whether it will be a clean bill, or whether the House Republicans will insist on some reductions from the FY 2011 levels or any other policy changes. 

AUCD is co-sponsoring a congressional budget briefing being planned for September 12. The goal of the briefing is to educate policymakers about public health recovery efforts that continue long after disasters strike, and to emphasize the importance of building a strong public health infrastructure so that restoration efforts are successful. The briefing will emphasize that the public health agencies play as critical a role as FEMA in any disaster relief effort. Dr. Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General of the United States has been invited to provide the keynote presentation.

Combating Autism Reauthorization Act
AUCD continues to meet with members of the House and Senate to advocate for the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, or CARA, (
HR 2005, S. 1094).  There are now 63 cosponsors of the House bill and 25 co-sponsors of the Senate bill. However, we need many more. This legislation is facing major hurdles in the House of Representatives due to a protocol issued by the House Republican leadership in which "disease or condition-specific" bills will not be brought to the House floor for a vote.  Though the Combating Autism Act (CAA) benefits individuals with developmental disabilities other than autism, it is still being considered condition-specific legislation by House leadership. The Senate bill (S. 1094) will be marked up in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, chaired by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), next week on Wednesday, September 7. So far, no markup has been scheduled for the House companion bill, H.R. 2005.  Please visit AUCD's Action Center for tools you can use to encourage your members of Congress to support quick movement on these bills before the law expires on September 30.  If your Representative is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, it is particularly important to ask him/her to support H.R 2005.


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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