AUCD Legislative News In Brief

September 10, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  September 10, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 36
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Congressional Schedule
Congress reconvenes this week after a month-long recess, directing its attention to passing a short-term spending bill to fund government programs beyond the end of the fiscal year on September 30.  Later in the week, three congressional hearings will examine different topics related to Social Security (see below).

Election Update
The Democratic National Convention concluded last week in Charlotte, North Carolina.  During the coming weeks, the presidential candidates will be talking about issues that are important to people with disabilities, including health care, education and employment.  Information about the candidates' views on these issues can be found in their campaign platforms:
Democratic party platform; Republican party platform. 

AUCD's Election Guide offers information about the presidential and congressional candidates in your state and where and how to register to vote.  All visitors have to do is enter a zip code!

Budget & Appropriations
The House may vote as early as this week on a short-term funding measure called a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running from October through March.  Leaders in both chambers and the White House announced bipartisan agreement for a CR before leaving for the August recess.  The measure is expected to include a small increase in overall spending, reflecting the $1.047 trillion cap on FY 2013 spending established by the 2011 debt limit law, the Budget Control Act.  However, this slight bump likely will not translate into increases for individual programs.  This is because government agencies typically take a conservative approach to applying CR funds, and this will be especially true in light of the scheduled across-the-board cuts, or sequestration, scheduled for January.  Congress has yet to make a serious bipartisan effort to prevent sequestration, which would require spending cuts of roughly nine percent in January.  So far, there is little suggestion that lawmakers would add a provision to the CR to avoid or postpone sequestration.   

The Obama Administration is scheduled to release a report, later this week, detailing how sequestration's cuts would be implemented.  Some criticized the White House for not meeting last week's deadline for the report, which was specified in the Transparency Act of 2012.  The law requires the administration to provide an estimate of the percentages and dollar amounts that would be cut from every discretionary and mandatory spending account at the program, project and activity levels, as well as a list of accounts that are exempt from cuts.  Outside budget experts say that compiling such detailed information about the cuts presents a daunting task.  Based on the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, the sequester would cut $94 billion from discretionary spending, including $55 billion from defense.  Some programs, including Social Security, Medicaid and Food Stamps (SNAP), are exempt from the cuts. 

Social Security
On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing on the direct deposit of Social Security benefits, examining their impact on beneficiaries.  On Friday, the subcommittee will hold the fifth hearing in a series on the Social Security Disability Insurance program.  The hearing will focus on options to address the key structural and fiscal challenges facing the program.  On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will hold a hearing on its investigation of the Social Security Administration's disability programs.  As stated in the hearing notice, the Subcommittee will examine "issues related to the quality of disability benefit awards involving 300 case files of claimants under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplement Security Income (SSI) programs involving initial applications and subsequent levels of appeal."

2012 National Forum on Disability Issues
AUCD is pleased to report that Frank Sesno has agreed to moderate the non-partisan forum where President Obama and former Governor Romney are invited to speak specifically about disability issues.  The NFDI is only three weeks away, and everyone is encouraged to participate and ensure the candidates come to Columbus on September 28.  

Consider taking the following four simple steps to participate in and spread the word about the NFDI:

  • Register: The forum will be webcast live for free.  Encourage everyone to register today at This will be an excellent teaching and advocacy opportunity for trainees!
  • Twitter: "Follow" us, and RT (re-tweet) messages frequently, always using #nfdi2012: The more voices candidates hear=increased likeliness they will attend! 
  • Invite: Encourage your members and staff to write a letter, compose a tweet, make a video, or take a photo and send it to the candidates. Ask them to invite the candidates to participate and to convey that people with disabilities and their families matter in this election.  More voices = an increased likeliness the candidates will attend!  View draft letters and get contact information here. Watch some of the video invitations from the disability community on the NFDI YouTube channel.

Contact Kim, Crystal, or George if you have any questions. 

AUCD Disability Policy Fellowship
Applications for the 2013 Disability Policy Leadership Fellowship are currently being accepted. The deadline for applications is September 21st or until the position is filled.  The fellowship is a fantastic opportunity for a network member to live and work in Washington, DC for a year (9-12 months) and learn about disability policy development "hands-on."  Click here to find out more about the fellowship and to read about the current fellow's experiences in DC, through her blog: "Transitioning into a Brave (New) World."  Feel free to email Kim Musheno with questions or a letter of interest. 


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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