AUCD Legislative News In Brief

July 30, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  July 30, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 30
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Congressional Schedule
The Congress will work on farm legislation and a temporary spending bill (see Budget & Appropriations) before adjourning for a month-long recess next week.  AUCD will send an action alert to its members this week in preparation for advocacy during the recess.

Anniversary of the ADA
July 26 marked the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The Obama Administration held a small celebration with disability advocates where senior White House officials representing departments of transportation, health and human services, education, technology and emergency planning, highlighted accomplishments related to disability policies.  The President issued a proclamation and there were several notable blog posts about the anniversary.  These documents and AUCD's statement on the anniversary can be found here.   

Disability Treaty
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Thursday, sending the treaty to the full House on a bipartisan vote of 13 to 6.  Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and John Barrasso (R-WY, cosponsor) joined all committee Democrats to vote in favor of the treaty.  The next step is a vote on the Senate floor where at least 67 Senators are needed to ratify the treaty.  
Please visit AUCD's action center to contact and educate your Senators about the CRPD (the alert has three different messages depending on how Senators voted).  Also visit the USICD's website to sign a joint letter in support of the CRPD written by former Congressman Tony Coelho.

FY 2013 Budget and Appropriations
House and Senate leaders have begun negotiations on passing a continuing resolution (CR) to provide funding for government programs after the new fiscal year begins on October 1.  A CR is needed because none of the twelve annual funding bills have been passed by Congress and likely will not be before the November elections.  Under discussion is a six-month CR using the overall spending level of $1.043 trillion that was agreed to in the Budget Control Act, the law that resulted from last year's debt ceiling debate.  Presumably, the agreement would fund all programs at current levels and would not include new funding proposals or program cuts.  However, complete details are not yet available.  The new Congress will then be responsible for completing the FY 13 annual appropriations and sequester before April 2014. 

Under the Budget Control Act, most Federal programs face an across-the-board cut (referred to as "sequestration") of approximately 9 percent in January 2013 if Congress does not enact a plan before then to reduce the national debt by $1.2 trillion.  These cuts will come from both defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs.  NDD includes most employment, health and human services, research, training and education programs, including AUCD network programs.  AUCD has joined a coalition of coalitions, called the NDD Summit, to raise the visibility of the impact of sequestration on NDD programs.  To date, the coalition has sent a letter to Congress signed by nearly 3,000 national, state and local groups.  Last week, the coalition held a press conference on Capitol Hill at which several key members of Congress spoke about the impact of cuts to the NDD budget.  Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and Reps. George Miller (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) talked passionately about the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that protects these important programs.  Senator Harkin, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education, issued a new report outlining the state-by-state impact sequestration would have on jobs, education, and services: Under Threat: Sequestration's Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services.  Over the August recess, members of Congress will be back in their home states and districts.  AUCD encourages network members to use this report to help educate policymakers about the impact of the sequestration on programs that impact the network as well as other NDD programs. 

Tax Legislation
The Senate passed a temporary extension of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 last week on a vote of 51 to 48.  The bill (S. 3393) extends for one year the tax cuts for individuals earning up to $200,000 per year and couples earning up to $250,000 per year.  These tax cuts are scheduled to expire in December.  Allowing the tax cuts to expire for households making over $250,000 a year (the top 2% of earners) would generate about $1 trillion in revenues over ten years, funding that is needed to help protect important disability programs from deep cuts and to reduce the deficit.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said his chamber will vote on the Senate-passed bill, as well as a Republican alternative that would extend the tax cuts for all earners for one year.  The Senate bill does not include an extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut enacted two years ago, but some lawmakers and the Obama Administration have said that another extension may be necessary depending on the strength of the economy at the end of the year.  AUCD joined 129 organizations in signing a
letter opposed to extending the tax cuts for those earning over $250,000.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has extended the deadline for states to apply for the
Project Rental Assistance Demonstration (PRA Demo) Program of Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities to August 7th. The PRA Demonstration creates new project-based rental assistance for extremely low-income persons with disabilities. It seeks to systematically and efficiently create integrated and cost-effective supportive housing units. 

National Presidential Forum on Disability Issues.
Help us encourage the presidential candidates to attend this important event!  Make a video, send a letter, or use the
social media links on our page to send an invitation.  If you have any personal connections with the candidates or their campaign staff, please contact them personally.  For more information on the forum, visit AUCD's Presidential Forum page.

AUCD Fellowship in Disability Policy Leadership
AUCD is still accepting applications for the 2013 Disability Policy Leadership Fellow.  
Click here to find out more about the fellowship.  This is a fantastic opportunity for network members to learn about disability policy development "hands-on".  Feel free to email Kim Musheno with questions or a letter of interest.  The deadline for applications is July 30, 2012 or until the position is filled.


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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