AUCD Legislative News In Brief

February 21, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  February 21, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 8
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Congressional Schedule
The Congress is in recess this week.

President's FY 2013 Budget
On February 13, President Obama transmitted his $3.8 trillion Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget request to Congress. Overall, the budget attempts to balance the need to continue economic growth in the short term and reduce the deficit over the next decade.  The budget remains within the annual caps for appropriations set by the Budget Control Act of 2011.  To accomplish this, the budget makes modest cuts to entitlements, such as Medicaid and Medicare, but without making structural changes. It also includes tax increases.  This balance of revenue increases and spending cuts also prevents the automatic cuts that will take place early next year if targeted spending limits are not reached.  Many disability programs have been level-funded, some received small increases, and some have been cut or consolidated.  For more information, please see AUCD's summary and table comparing the funding levels of the President's FY 2013 proposed budget to last year's (FY 2012) and FY 2011 levels for programs within the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education that AUCD monitors most closely.  All budget documents can be found on
OMB's website.  The President's budget is only the starting point for the annual budget process; it reflects the Administration's priorities.

Payroll Tax Cut Extension
Congress finalized an agreement to extend the Social Security payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits last week.  The agreement extends the policies and prevents a cut in doctors' Medicare reimbursement rates through the end of the year.  The payroll tax cut extension means that workers will pay 4.2 percent instead of 6.2 percent of their income under $110,100 in Social Security tax.  For the average family, this represents an annual savings of about $1,000.  Revenue lost to the Social Security Trust Fund is reimbursed through general Treasury funds.  Another provision includes extensions of the Transitional Medical Assistance program for low-income families moving into employment through the end of the year and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through September 30.

Unfortunately, to offset the costs of these policies, the agreement takes $5 billion over ten years from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act.  The Fund was intended to provide new funding for transformational investments in promoting wellness, preventing disease and other public health priorities.  Visit to find out how this funding is being used in your state.

House Hearing on Education Reform Bills
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing Thursday on two Republican bills to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind).  AUCD opposes both bills. The Student Success Act (H.R. 3989) and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990) would dramatically limit the federal role in education by eliminating a number of requirements in NCLB, including those that have led to increased inclusion and academic gains for students with disabilities.  Delia Pompa, Senior Vice President of Programs at the National Council of La Raza, testified from the civil rights perspective, stating that "as currently drafted, the Student Success Act would fail to address the specific needs of students with disabilities."

11th ESEA Flexibility Waiver Approved
The U.S. Department of Education approved New Mexico's application to waive certain requirements under No Child Left Behind, making it the eleventh state to receive a waiver.  The Department also prepared a summary of issues for states to consider when applying for a waiver based on the peer review process it conducted in December.  The document includes recommendations for including students with disabilities in accountability systems, and professional development and evaluation of their teachers.

Long-Term Services & Supports: Presidential Candidate Survey
Every day, over 10 million seniors, people with disabilities, and their families struggle to find and pay for long-term services and supports, and the need for care is expected to grow to over 15 million Americans by 2020.  Yet, the issue of long-term care has been completely absent from this year's presidential campaign.  No questions have been asked during the debates, the candidates have not posted any views or positions on their websites, and only two candidates have responded to a national survey on their views to address this growing national challenge.  To help raise this critical issue among the presidential candidates, 15 national aging and disability organizations, including AUCD, invited each candidate to answer five questions about their views on long-term care.  The questionnaire was distributed in November to all major candidates for President, regardless of political party affiliation.  So far, only two presidential candidates-Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich-have responded to the questionnaire.  The five questions and responses received to date are available at  AUCD also sent an action alert today with steps you can take to help.

Disability Policy Seminar: Washington, DC, April 23-25
Learn how to be an effective advocate, not just in Washington, but in your community once you return home.  The information provided at the Disability Policy Seminar will give you a broader and better understanding of the role public policy plays in the day-to-day lives of people with I/DD and what you can do to create change.  You can even attend a pre-event Seminar Trainee Orientation webinar hosted by AUCD.  Please also plan ahead for a special Trainee seminar and reception on Sunday night before the event (4-7 p.m.).  Finally, if you're a sibling of someone with I/DD, attend a special breakfast meet and greet to find out more about how you can get involved in The Arc's new Sibling Leadership Council and the Sibling Leadership Network.  Special early registration rates end March 20.  Register and book your room now at


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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