AUCD Legislative News In Brief

April 8, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  April 8, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 14
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Congressional Schedule

The Senate is in session today, returning from the Passover/Easter recess. The House returns tomorrow.


Budget and Appropriations

The President's budget is scheduled to be released this Wednesday, April 10, but the administration has already released some of the details of the plan. The plan is reported to be roughly similar to what the President negotiated with House Speaker John Boehner in the summer of 2011 before the negotiations on the debt ceiling collapsed. 

Important for Social Security, the President's budget includes the "chained-CPI", an alternative calculation of the consumer price index (CPI) that is used to determine cost-of-living-adjustments. The chained-CPI would have the biggest impact on Social Security, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), by reducing the increases that beneficiaries receive each year to adjust for rising costs of living. Administration officials have said that the plan will include protections for low-income beneficiaries, but those details have yet to emerge. AUCD and CCD oppose the chained CPI and have urged the President to not to support the change. For more information, see the March 25 In Brief as well as a fact sheet developed by the CCD Social Security Task Force.

While the plan does not include any cuts to Medicaid, it would increase premiums for higher-income Medicare beneficiaries, cut some provider payments, and make other as-yet-unspecified changes to health spending. Other elements of the plan would replace the sequester cuts with targeted cuts, include grants to states to provide universal preschool, increase taxes on tobacco products, increase revenue from tax reform, and make other mandatory and discretionary cuts.  

Ideally, once the President's budget is transmitted to the House and Senate, the two chambers consider the President's recommendations to develop a joint budget plan to provide the top line number for the Appropriations Committees.  However, since the House and Senate plans are so far apart in their priorities, it is still unlikely that a compromise budget will be accomplished; however, they will still have to agree on an overall number.  Current law dictates a sharp reduction to about $966 billion from about $984 billion in fiscal 2013 due to the sequester. Democrats will push to increase that cap to $1.058 trillion that was negotiated under the Budget Control Act.

AUCD signed onto a letter developed by a large coalition of health and humans services and education organizations urging appropriators to provide the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittees the largest possible "302(b)" allocation in FY 2014.

Rep. Langevin has sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to all U.S. representatives urging them to support his letter to the Appropriations Committee leaders supporting UCEDD and LEND funding in FY 2014.  So far, Reps. Loebsack (D-IA), Holt (D-NJ), and Conyers (D-MI) have signed on.  Rep. Langevin has also sponsored a letter in support of the Lifespan Respite Care Act funding.  Please encourage your representatives to support both letters. Contact Kim Musheno for more information. 


Social Security

Eight former Social Security Administration officials signed an open letter to express significant concerns regarding a series recently aired on National Public Radio programs, titled "Unfit for Work: The Startling Rise of Disability in America."  The letter lays out key facts about the programs and states that the commissioners felt "compelled to share our unique insight into the Social Security system because we know firsthand the dangers of mischaracterizing the disability programs via sensational, anecdote-based media accounts, leaving vulnerable beneficiaries to pick up the pieces."  AUCD also signed onto a CCD Social Security Task Force letter, joined by other national organizations, aimed at correcting some of the misinformation and ensuring that all the facts are made public.  Former SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue and CCD member, Rebecca Vallas, were also interviewed on MSNBC on the subject.


Health Funding

Looking for resources on federal funding in your area? Two new tools are available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) FY2012 Grant Funding Profiles Tool provides detailed access to CDC grants by state, territory, and Congressional district. Data fields include Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and the Prevention and Public Health Trust Fund (an ACA grant program).  The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities project includes state profiles in I/DD spending for FY1977-2011 and now includes a function to create a chart of spending in states or regions. Charts, graphs, and data from both tools may be useful in research, data collection, or educating policymakers.


Parents with Disabilities

The National Council on Disability, American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers, and Child Welfare League of America will hold a congressional briefing on Wednesday, April 17 on the topic of parents with disabilities. The briefing will introduce NCD's report Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children, and include a robust discussion and speakers from the National Council on Disability, Texas A&M Health Science Center, National Association of Social Workers, and Child Welfare League.


CMS Administrator Confirmation Hearing

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow morning, April 9, on the confirmation of Marilyn Tavenner to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS has been without a confirmed administrator since 2006 when Mark McClellan stepped down. Tavenner has been acting administrator for over a year. As is customary, a confirmation vote will not occur on Tuesday but advocates are hopeful that Tavenner will be confirmed, bringing stability and continuity of leadership to the agency responsible for overseeing Medicare, Medicaid, and key pieces of the Affordable Care Act.


Policy Seminar

The Disability Policy Seminar is next week! Online registration will close Wednesday but you will still be able to register onsite. Be sure to have made your appointments with your congressional delegation before you arrive. Be sure to look at the attendee resources and policy fact sheets are now posted online to help you prepare.  AUCD will hold a special event for trainees Sunday night from 4-7:30pm. AUCD also hosted a webinar orientation (now archived) for students and trainees to help them prepare for the DPS.  For more information and a draft program visit


For more policy news, follow Kim and Rachel on Twitter at @kmusheno and @racheljpat

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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