AUCD Legislative News In Brief

March 11, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  March 11, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 10
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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are both in session this week. Since Congress has a recess period scheduled for the week of March 25, the House and Senate must agree on an appropriations package by March 21 or 22 (the current continuing resolution expires March 27).


Federal Funding/Sequestration

On March 6 the House of Representatives approved an FY 13 appropriations bill (H.R. 933) to fund the rest of the fiscal year (through the end of September). The bill starts with the $1.043 trillion cap for total appropriations, as already established by Congress, then subtracts the domestic discretionary portion (some of the cuts are to mandatory programs) of the $85 billion in sequestration cuts, resulting in a $974 billion bill. That is the level of funding the House had sought for FY 2013 appropriations last spring, but at that time was successfully opposed by the Senate and Administration. The bill, assembled by House Appropriations Chair Harold Rogers (R-KY), continues existing funding levels for most parts of government through an extended Continuing Resolution (C.R.), but includes separate two full appropriations bills for Defense and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs. This bill provides flexibility for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to absorb sequester cuts, but does not provide flexibility to other parts of the government, such as Health and Human Services.

Debate on the Senate bill to complete FY 13 appropriations is expected to begin today. Chairwoman Mikulski (D-MD) released a draft bill today that would package at least three of 12 regular appropriations bills in an omnibus package.  The package does not include the Labor, HHS, Education bill.  That means funds for programs under that bill, including AUCD network programs, will continue at the current CR funding level. The bill also may include give more flexibility for agencies to move money between programs to deal with the sequester. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have also stated their intention to introduce amendments to defund the Affordable Care Act.

The differences between the House and Senate approaches may complicate the efforts to agree on final legislation; however, House and Senate leaders say they are working on compromising to avoid the possibility of a government shutdown.

While the President had previously stated he would veto any appropriations bill that was less than the $1.043 trillion cap, last week he clarified that he would not veto a bill that encompassed the sequestration cuts rather than risk a government shutdown.



The House Education and Workforce Committee marked up the SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), a bill to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), as introduced by Rep Virginia Foxx (R-NC) (see also last week's In Brief). Under the bill, 35 employment and training programs, including the Supported Employment Program, would be consolidated into a Workforce Investment Fund to serve as a single source of support for employers and job seekers. Funding for those programs would be merged into a block grant to the states. The bill would also require two-thirds of the members of each local workforce board be employers. During the opening statements Republicans argued that the bill would allow for a more streamlined workforce system and that it would replace the "maze of confusing training programs". Democrats expressed their frustration that their concerns with the bill had not been addressed and that their formal requests for discussion had been ignored by the majority. Democrats stated that the bill would shift money away from underserved populations, including veterans and people with disabilities. Under the leadership of Rep Hinojosa (D-TX), Democratic Representatives on the committee left the room in protest of the partisan process after about an hour of debate. Chairman Kline called for a roll-call vote even without the presence of the Democrats.  The vote was 23-0.  Rep. Tierney (D-MA) has also introduced a bill (H.R. 798) to reauthorize WIA.  AUCD signed onto CCD and CPSD letters opposing H.R. 803 as written.

Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) re-introduced the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2011 (H.R. 3086). The bill seeks to immediately end issuance of new special wage certificates for workers with disabilities under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and to phase out existing certificates over a 3 year period. Similar legislation was introduced in the 112th Congress by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-NY). The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  There is no date set for markup and there is currently no companion bill in the Senate.


Violence Against Women Act

On Thursday March 7, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act into Law. AUCD supported the legislation. The law reauthorizes the disability grant program, which addresses the gaps in abuse suffered by domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking victims with disabilities. For more information, see last week's In Brief.


Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) has reintroduced the Rewriting to Improve and Secure an Exit Out of Poverty Act of 2013, also known as the RISE Out of Poverty Act (H.R. 814), to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Proposed reforms include increasing state block grants and indexing them annually for inflation; providing new funds for child care and subsidized employment; mandating guaranteed child care for all work-eligible parents, and requiring states to provide benefit levels that meet basic family needs. The bill would revamp work requirements to support education and training, and allow people with disabilities and family caregivers to participate in a modified plan of work or job preparation. The bill also would enhance screening for disabilities, and require detailed annual reporting on beneficiaries with disabilities. The bill was referred to both the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


Policy Seminar

The Disability Policy Seminar (April 15-17) is fast approaching! Register before TOMORROW to take advantage of lower cost early bird rates. Topics to be discussed at the Seminar include: Medicaid and Community Living, Federal Funding, Social Security, Employment and Education, Health Care, and Asset Development. Wednesday morning features a Breakfast on the Hill with Members of Congress and staff. Check our draft program schedule for more information. AUCD is also hosting a webinar orientation on March 18 for students, trainees, and early career professionals to get ready for the DPS. AUCD's trainee symposium and reception will be held on Sunday night from 4-7:30pm. Don't forget to schedule your hill visits and visit to learn more about the seminar.

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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