AUCD Legislative News In Brief

January 14, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  January 14, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 2
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The 113th Congress - Updates

The Senate is now in recess until Monday, January 21 for a joint session of Congress for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Legislative business will resume on Tuesday, January 22. The House convenes today, but will go into recess for a Republican Retreat January 17-18.

Last week's In Brief reported that Henry Claypool will step down from his dual roles as Administration for Community Living (ACL) Principal Deputy Administrator and Secretary's Advisor on Disability Policy. His last day was Friday, January 11. Last week, Mr. Claypool announced that he will be moving to the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).

Budget and Appropriations

Following the American Taxpayer Relief Act, passed on New Year's Day of this year to avoid the "fiscal cliff", the President and Congress face another series of deadlines with implications for the government and the economy (see last week's In Brief for more details on the law). The law delayed the scheduled sequester cuts until March 1 of this year, which coincides with the time that the Treasury Department estimates Congress will need to raise the debt ceiling to continue to pay government debts. On March 27, the continuing resolution signed into law in September of 2012 will also expire (see In Brief from September 2012). The President and Congress will need to reach a deal on all three deadlines in the coming weeks. Sequester cuts scheduled for March 1 would impose harsh across the board cuts on government discretionary programs. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would result in a default in US Treasury bonds, the first in the nation's history. Finally, failure to extent the continuing resolution or pass the necessary appropriations bills would result in a shutdown of the government. While some Republican members have threatened to allow for default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, President Obama has vowed not to negotiate on the debt ceiling. In terms of FY 2013 annual funding, appropriations staff whom we have consulted still predict a full-year CR at level funding will be passed before the deadline.


Commission on Long-Term Care

A bipartisan commission on long-term care was created under Section 643 of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2013 which is charged with submitting broad recommendations to the President on long-term care needs to support individuals with substantial cognitive or functional limitations, and other individuals who require assistance to perform activities of daily living (see last week's In Brief).  AUCD is pleased to nominate two individuals from our network to serve on the Commission - Robert Bacon, Director of the University of Iowa UCEDD, and Shannon Caldwell, COCA Co-Chair and Member of the Board.  Members of the commission will be chosen within the next few weeks.  While uncertainty continues to surround the formation of the commission, AUCD is hopeful that having our network members serve on the commission will ensure that positive legislative recommendations, those that could potentially look similar to the CLASS program, are recommended to the President within the next 6 months.  

Senator Rockefeller's Retirement Announcement
Last week, Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) a longstanding advocate on long-term care issues, announced he will retire in 2014, at the end of his 5th term in the Senate.  This announcement has already sparked conversation as to his successor and whether his seat will be open to a conservative candidate.  In the meantime, the disability advocacy community applauds Senator Rockefeller for his long-standing commitment to long-term care issues throughout his career.  Senator Rockefeller is credited for creating a workforce advisory panel under the CLASS program (repealed under the ATRA), a panel which had similar workforce responsibility provisions as the new commission on long-term care.  For more information on Senator Rockefeller's history and advocacy for people with disabilities, see this post from Kaiser Health News.

HHS Proposed Rule on Medicaid Provisions in ACA

Today, January 14, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a proposed rule implementing key Affordable Care Act provisions relating to Medicaid and the Exchanges (available here). This proposed rule codifies statutory eligibility provisions, lays out a structure and options for coordinating Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Exchange eligibility notices and appeals. It also proposes to modify existing benchmark benefits regulations for low-income adults, but allowing for more state flexibility in designing benefits and determining cost sharing in the Medicaid program.  A fact sheet with additional information regarding the changes will be available on and at by the end of today.

Gun Violence and Disabilities
The National Council on Disabilities sent a letter with recommendations to Vice President Biden's new task force addressing gun violence.  The letter warns about the potential for unintended consequences of some proposed policies that might worsen rather than improve access to mental health services and supports.  The letter states that "we cannot afford to exacerbate harmful stereotypes about mental illness" and reiterates a basic fact: people with psychiatric disabilities are more often the victims of violence than they are the perpetrators.  The letter and recommendations will be posted on the website soon.

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has reached out to disability organizations, including AUCD, for support of legislation intended to reduce gun violence, the Assault Weapons Regulatory Act of 2013.  As in the case of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), survivors of gun violence often experience temporary or long term disabilities. AUCD is reviewing the legislation.

CCD Annual Meeting

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a coalition of over 100 national disability organizations, held its annual meeting and 40th anniversary celebration last week.  The purpose of the meeting was to elect board members and officers as well as to organize task forces around key issues.  AUCD staff joined task forces working on fiscal policy, Social Security, Medicaid and long-term services, education, health, employment, international issues, and civil rights.  This year's meeting included a tremendous Panel celebrating CCD's "40 Years of Advocacy " featuring CCD Founders Paul Marchand and Clarke Ross, disability rights advocate Judy Heumann of the Department of State, and parent advocate Sue Swenson of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services.  Donna Meltzer, outgoing CCD Chair, presented an award to the Technical Assistance Collaborative that was accepted by Associate Director Ann O'Hara, for establishment of the Melville Charitable Trust which expands housing opportunities for the lowest income people with disabilities.  A second Chair award went to Marty Ford of The Arc, a past chair and active CCD member. Kim Musheno was re-elected to the CCD Board in her new role as the Vice Chair. Katy Neas of Easter Seals was elected as the new Chair.  CCD members also heard from congressional staff of key committees in the House and Senate on legislative priorities for the year and a fiscal cliff analysis from Ellen Nissenbaum of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

2013 Disability Policy Seminar: Registration Now Open

The 2013 Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C. April 15-17 is just around the corner. Plan to join us and advocates from across the country as we dig into the issues facing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and talk to our elected representatives about what's important to us. Registration opened January 11, so save the date and take advantage of special early registration and hotel rates at the Grand Hyatt Downtown before March 12. This event is the biggest and best opportunity for us to educate new and returning Members and staff about network center activities and AUCD's legislative priorities.  Look for more news coming soon at - we hope to see you there!


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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