AUCD Legislative News In Brief

December 21, 2012

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  December 21, 2012   |  Vol. XII, Issue 49
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Fiscal Cliff
The so-called "fiscal cliff" is now less than two weeks away. At this time, despite numerous attempts by President Obama and Speaker Boehner, no agreement has been reached. Just yesterday in what is described as a "crushing blow" to House Speaker Boehner, his "Plan B" which would allow taxes to increase only on millionaires and extend Bush Tax cuts was, at the last minute, rejected by House Republicans. Speaker Boehner reported afterwards that negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff must now take place between the President and Senate Majority Leader Reid, and sent House Republicans home until after the Christmas holiday. He further stated that, "[t]he House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation's crippling debt." While it is still unclear whether any viable legislative path exists, President Obama remains determined to cut a bipartisan agreement to avoid middle-class tax increases and spending cuts. Additionally, Senator Reid says that the Speaker Boehner must restart negotiations with the President and Senate to reach a bipartisan deal. Up until now, the Senate has not identified any contingency plans in the case the administration and House GOP fell short of a deal. Please visit AUCD's Action Center to continue to voice concern about the state of the ongoing deficit reduction negotiations, specifically the importance of protecting non-defense discretionary programs against deep cuts.

Secretary of State Nomination
Today President Obama nominated Senator John Kerry (D-MA), the current chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to be the next secretary of State. Once confirmed by the Senate, he will replace Secretary Clinton who has served in this role since January 2009. The disability advocacy community believes that this is positive news for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as Senator Kerry, an active and vocal CRPD supporter, is expected to now use his new high profile role to help to advance disability rights internationally. Senator Menendez (D-NJ), a CRPD supporter, is likely to become the new chairman of the committee (see article in "The Hill").

Health Reform
This week, AUCD signed onto comments on two proposed rules related to Affordable Care Act implementation: (1) Proposed Regulation on ACA Standards Related to Essential Health Benefits (including Appendix), and (2) Proposed Regulation on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Health Insurance Market Rules. The comments were prepared by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Health Task Force. AUCD encourages our network members to write their own comments. Please go to AUCD's policy page to view the comments, and use as a template as well as add additional comments where appropriate. To comment, go to and searching for "essential health benefits."

White House and the Holidays
AUCD President Julie Fodor, Director of the Center on Disabilities and Human Development at the University of Idaho, was able to join Legislative Director Kim Musheno at a special White House holiday policy briefing and discussion held by the Office of Public Engagement (see picture below). White House officials summarized policy accomplishments to date and engaged participants in a discussion about upcoming policy goals for the next four years. The briefing was followed by a holiday reception at the White House where the President and First Lady made a brief appearance.

Julie Fodor with Kareem Dale, Office of Public Engagement, at the White House

Julie Fodor with Kareem Dale, Office of Public Engagement, at the White House

AUCD Legislative Affairs staff wishes everyone happy and safe holidays!

The next issue of In Brief will be published on January 7, 2013.

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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