AUCD Legislative News In Brief

January 17, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  January 17, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 3
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Congressional Schedule
The House returns from winter recess today; the Senate returns next Monday. Congressional leaders are beginning to discuss their agendas for the Second Session of the 112th Congress.  The upcoming 2012 presidential elections are likely to influence the congressional agenda for the year, with both parties trying to demonstrate their priorities for voters.  Their agendas will become more apparent after President Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address next Tuesday, which will be followed by a response from the Republican leadership.  Fiscal policy will certainly continue to be a central issue for Congress.  The first order of business will be to negotiate a continuation of the Social Security tax holiday, unemployment benefits, and Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors.  Just before the holiday break, Congress passed a temporary extension of these programs that will expire on February 29. 

The House Ways and Means Committee plans to consider H.R. 1173, a bill to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, this Wednesday, January 18.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill on November 29.  The bill was introduced by Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA) on March 17 and currently has 108 cosponsors.  A companion bill (S. 720) was introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) on April 4, and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.  It has 42 cosponsors.  AUCD signed onto a
letter to Members of the Ways and Means Committee urging them oppose the legislation.

Social Security
On Tuesday, January 24, the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing entitled "combating disability waste, fraud, and abuse."  The hearing will focus on the Social Security Administration's efforts to minimize improper payments and protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse.  This is the second hearing in a series on "Securing the Future of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program."

Health Care Reform
A number of interested parties have filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court concerning the case (HHS v. Florida) about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.  These briefs, offered by people or organizations that are not parties to the case, offer information to assist the court in its decision.  Friday was the deadline for briefs concerning the individual mandate, one of the most controversial provisions of the law that requires most people to obtain health insurance coverage by 2014.  Today is the deadline for briefs concerning the law's provision to expand Medicaid.  Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for March 26, 27, and 28. 

The U.S. Department of Education recently released the 30th annual report to Congress on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  The report describes the nation's progress in implementing the law, focusing on children and students with disabilities being served under IDEA Part C or B, both nationally and at the state level. 

President Obama Appoints New Members to the PCPID
On January 10, President Obama
announced the appointments of Jack Brandt and Peter Bell to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), a 34-member committee composed of both citizen and federal government members.  Since its establishment in 1966 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, the PCPID has sought to serve, and improve the quality of life for, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through the promotion of policies and programs that embrace self-determination and independence.  Jack Brandt, a long-standing disability rights advocate, is also a valued member of AUCD's Legislative Affairs Committee.  Currently, he serves as the Disability Policy Specialist for the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Peter Bell is the Executive Vice President for Programs & Services at Autism Speaks, a position he has held since 2007.  AUCD has worked closely with Bell and Autism Speaks over the past couple of years.  His understanding of the service and support needs, as well as the research and education needs, of children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities across the life span will be very useful on the PCPID. 

2012 Disability Policy Seminar: Registration Now Open!
Registration for the 2012 Disability Policy Seminar is now open.  Plan to join us in Washington, D.C. April 23-25 for the ultimate gathering of advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  This year, we'll be focusing on election-year issues and how to make a difference with grassroots advocacy.  The Seminar begins with two days packed full of educational sessions on critical legislative issues facing the I/DD community from some of the foremost experts in disability policy.  It culminates with participants taking their concerns directly to Capitol Hill in meetings with elected representatives.  On March 28, AUCD will host a webinar to help you get the most out of your time in D.C.  Registration for the pre-event Webinar will open soon.  You can register for the Seminar and book your room at The Grand Hyatt now at Watch for more information about the seminar in upcoming issues of In Brief.


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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