AUCD Legislative News In Brief

September 24, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  September 24, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 38
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National Forum on Disability Issues
Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, Jr., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) are speaking on behalf of their respective parties at the National Forum on Disability Issues (NFDI) to present their campaigns' positions on matters relating to Americans with disabilities (see full press release). The event takes place from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern, Friday, Sept. 28 in Columbus, Ohio.  Invitations have also been extended to Ohio candidates for the U.S. Senate, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and Republican nominee Treasurer Josh Mandel.  Rep. Nancy Garland (D-New Albany) has confirmed her participation on behalf of Sen. Brown.

AUCD, along with over 80 other disability and aging organizations, is sponsoring this non-partisan forum.  It is the only national event that brings together representatives from President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's campaigns and provides them with a platform to present their policy positions on disability issues so that people with disabilities and their families can be better informed as voters.  Several AUCD network members are attending the event in Ohio and many have signed up to watch the event web-streamed live.  Thanks to those of you who helped us get the campaigns to participate by sending personal invitations, picture invitations, or urging them via You Tube videos!

Congressional Schedule
The House and Senate recessed last week after scrambling to finish must-pass appropriations legislation.  The House is scheduled to reconvene on November 13, and the Senate may follow suit.  In this likely "lame duck" session, the Congress has a number items to consider: the "fiscal cliff", with a number of tax cuts set to expire and the automatic, across-the-board cuts (sequester) scheduled for January 2nd; the farm bill to reauthorize agriculture programs and nutrition funding; and perhaps the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and a drought relief bill. 

FY 13 Appropriations
The Senate passed early Saturday morning a six-month continuing resolution (CR) [H.J. Res. 117] to keep government programs operating from October 1 to March 27, 2013.  The CR provides funding at an annual level of $1.047 trillion, the level agreed to in last year's debt ceiling agreement, the Budget Control Act.  The CR includes few additional items beyond level funding, but does extend the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant for an additional six months.  Disability programs, including AUCD network programs, will maintain the same level of funding under the CR as they had in fiscal year 2012.  The CR does not fix the automatic cuts of approximately 9% to discretionary programs set to take place January 2, 2013.  The so-called "sequester" was set in motion by last year's agreement to raise the debt limit (Budget Control Act). 

Disability Treaty
On Thursday, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) requested unanimous consent (a procedural tool used to expedite a floor vote) for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  The request was intended to show that the Senate leadership is serious about passing the treaty this year.  However, under unanimous consent, the bill cannot move forward if any Senator objects.  Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) raised an objection and urged that no treaty be ratified in the Senate during the lame duck session.  He submitted a letter signed by 36 senators stating this position, which is not specific to the CRPD in particular.  Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) joined Sen. Durbin in speaking in support of the treaty (view the floor debate here).  The disability community remains hopeful that the CRPD will be considered on the Senate floor after the election.  AUCD thanks those in the network who have been actively educating their Senators on this issue.  For more information, or to take action, visit AUCD's Action Center.


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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