AUCD Legislative News In Brief

August 20, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  August 20, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 33
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Congressional Schedule
Congress is in recess until the week of September 10th.  When they return, there are very few legislative days left and lots of important work to do, including finalizing FY 2013 appropriations and ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (see August 6 In Brief).  Disability advocates should be contacting their Senators and Representatives while they are in their home states.  See AUCD's Action Center for information about important issues.

National Presidential Forum on Disabilities
Registration is now open
  for the only presidential forum focusing on disability policy issues.  This historic event will take place on September 28th in Columbus, Ohio.  It will bring together the diverse disability community to demonstrate the power of the disability vote and raise the visibility of disability issues during the election.  So far, over 50 disability organizations have come together to co-sponsor the event.  Approximately 500 people will attend the event in person.  Tickets are free and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Thousands of others across the country will join a live webcast of the event.  This is the only forum of its kind and only the second time an event like this has ever been organized.  The planning committee encourages individuals and organizations to submit stories and video invites directly to the candidates using the contact information on the forum website:

In this election year, AUCD urges advocates to help inform our elected federal officials about the challenges faced by people with disabilities.  Visit AUCD's Action Center to locate and email your Members of Congress.  The Action Center's online Election Guide is also available to help visitors find links to the presidential candidates' profiles and webpages, an option to contact each candidate, and a map of the United States that lists important primary and registration dates for each state. 

Employment: Work Incentives Programs
Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, recently requested an opinion from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) has the authority to continue two grant programs:  the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program and the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program.  The GAO concluded that the SSA has adequate authority to continue both programs with fiscal 2012 funds.  Although the funding authorization for the programs has expired, the enabling legislation that created the programs has not - a distinction that played a key role in the GAO's
decision.  The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security and Employment task forces will submit a letter to the SSA asking them to adhere to the GAO's decision and continue funding the two programs with FY12 funds.  

Long-Term Services and Supports
Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA) and Senator John Thune (R-SD), both opponents of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) voicing concerns over meetings the department has reportedly held with a large group of stakeholders to discuss solutions to the growing need for long-term care.  The CLASS program is a national, voluntary long-term services and supports program created by the Affordable Care Act.  Last year, HHS announced that it was suspending implementation of the CLASS program because it could not find a way to meet the law's requirements for a program that is voluntary, self-sustaining and financially solvent for at least 75 years.  Boustany recently introduced a bill (H.R. 6300) that aims to improve long-term care insurance and educate consumers about the need for it, but would also ban HHS from examining strategies to improve long-term care through methods that would require mandatory enrollment or automatic enrollment of individuals by employers.

Health Care Reform
HHS officials are holding Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation forums across the country this month.  These sessions are intended to provide an opportunity for states and stakeholders to learn more about the next steps in implementation of the health care law and ask questions about work needed to build Affordable Insurance Exchanges in every state.  HHS leadership has provided an overview of topics related to coverage provisions of the ACA effective in 2014.  The forum in Denver, Colorado takes place this Wednesday, August 22n d and will be webcast so people from all around the country can participate. 

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 has been extended to August 30.


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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