AUCD Legislative News In Brief

November 19, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  November 19, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 45
Subscribe to AUCD InBrief  |  AUCD InBrief Archive  | RSS  |  AUCD InBrief Archive

Congressional Schedule
This week, the House and Senate are in recess for the Thanksgiving holiday and will return on Monday, November 26th, for the lame duck session (which is expected to continue until December 21st). The most important issue to be resolved is how to prevent the scheduled tax cuts and sequestration from pushing the country over the so-called "fiscal cliff" (for more information see last week's In Brief). There is also a chance that Congress could consider the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Last week, AUCD Legislative Affairs staff participated with other stakeholders at the White House to discuss how the budget negotiation impacts people with disabilities. The discussion centered on the urgency of passing a plan to avoid raising taxes on the middle class (those making under $250,000) and to raise revenues to balance the deficit without allowing drastic cuts to programs that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities rely on, such as education, housing, and employment. These cuts are scheduled to take place on January 1, 2013, along with the expiration of a variety of tax provisions. AUCD is looking for stories related to the impact of cuts to Medicaid and the hardships faced if the middle class tax cuts are not continued.

Last Week, disability advocates organized a press conference around the ABLE Act, a bill that would create a new financial planning tool for families that would allow individuals to save funds in new ABLE accounts without impacting their eligibility for means-tested federal programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), one of the lead co-sponsors of the bill, voiced his support for the ABLE Act and his hope that the bill would pass before Congress adjourns. The ABLE Act has broad bipartisan support, with more than 230 House sponsors and 40 in the Senate.

The Disability Treaty (CRPD)
The next step for the treaty is a floor vote by the Full Senate. Last week, various disability organization leaders met with Senator Harry Reid to inform him that we now have the 67 votes needed to ratify. The meeting resulted in Senator Reid making the treaty floor vote a priority during the lame duck session - a victory for the disability community. The latest news is that Senator Roberts (R-KS) who originally expressed his opposition to the treaty has now voiced his support thanks to outreach by constituents and our network members, along with Senators Hutchinson (R-TX), Snowe (R-ME), Collins (R-ME), and Cochran (R-MS). AUCD staff has been actively involved in meeting with Senate staff to educate and gather support for the treaty's ratification. Please visit AUCD's Action Center to continue to contact your Senators and voice support for the treaty.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities Event
On December 4, 2012, the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) will host an event in the Senate Foreign Relations Hearing Room (Dirksen 419 - 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM) in recognition of the 2012 International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This event will honor the service of former Senator Bob Dole for a lifetime commitment to disability rights including his work on the Americans with Disabilities Act and advocacy for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

On November 9, 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) making $1.61 billion available for the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition. This CoC Program Competition represents the first year that HUD will be implementing changes called for by the HEARTH Act which created the CoC Program. Applications are due on January 18, 2013. View the NOFA here. For more information, including official HUD releases related to the Program Competition and important information about the application, visit HUD's Homelessness Resource Exchange. AUCD also joined the CCD Housing Taskforce in signing onto comments on the HEARTH CoC interim final rule. See AUCD's Community Living page for more information.

Rights/Class Action Bill
H.R. 2032, introduced by Representative Frank (D-MA) in May 2011, is a bill that would restrict the ability of protection and advocacy systems to bring class action lawsuits that would enforce the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in institutions. The bill would also make it more difficult for the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce the rights of such individuals (see last week's In Brief). The House Committee on the Judiciary will consider this bill in early December.

AUCD 2012 Conference
Our annual conference is less than two weeks away. Online registration closed last Friday with 630 registrants - another registration record! Please visit our website to learn more about conference highlights - including a Post-Election Analysis Panel and an opening Federal Panel featuring Kathy Greenlee, Administrator for the Administration on Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging, Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor, Michael Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Michael Strautmanis, Deputy Assistant to the President, and Dr. Charlie Lakin, Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Ted Kennedy, Jr. will also be speaking to the membership the morning of the hill visits on December 5th. For more information on the hill visits see last week's In Brief or contact Kim Musheno at [email protected].

AUCD Welcomes New Staff to Legislative Affairs Team
Rachel Patterson, MPA, currently of AUCD's AIDD Technical Assistance Team has been selected as the new policy analyst. Rachel earned a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Public Policy where she participated in rigorous coursework on the Federal Budget, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Health Care Reform - all of which are directly applicable to the legislative goals of AUCD.


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:

AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910