AUCD Legislative News In Brief

May 6, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  May 6, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 18
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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are both in session this week after returning from a weeklong recess. Congress is expected to be busy during the three weeks it will be in session before members take another short recess the week of Memorial Day.

The Senate HELP Committee is expected to vote this week on the nomination of Tom Perez to be Secretary of Labor (see April 1 In Brief). Also, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) issued a memo on Friday laying out the Republicans' legislative agenda for May. In the memo, the agenda includes another vote to repeal "Obamacare", a bill to authorize the Keystone XL oil pipeline, Securities and Exchange Commission regulation, student loan rates, and the "Kids First Research Act" (H.R. 1724)-- a bill to increase funding for NIH pediatric research. The Kids First Research Act, sponsored by Reps. Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Tom Cole (R-OK), would be funded by eliminating federal funding for presidential conventions. Though Cantor doesn't mention it in his memo, an immigration overhaul will no doubt dominate lawmakers' attention as it moves forward in both the House and Senate.


The House and Senate have still not set a date to negotiate a final joint Budget Resolution (BR).  With the House and Senate so far apart on overall budget numbers, it is still not clear that the two chambers will ever come to agreement. The House budget allocates only $967 billion, $91 billion less than the $1.058 trillion provided in the Senate plan and the President's budget.  In addition, the House budget protects Defense spending by shifting $37 billion more of the burden of cuts to domestic programs.  In a coalition meeting with staff of House Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Jack Kingston (R-GA) last week, AUCD staff learned that the subcommittee plans to mark up annual appropriations bills in July; however, the staff was not very optimistic that the Labor-HHS-ED annual spending bill would ever be finalized. Given these circumstances it is possible that Federal government programs will end up being funded by another continuing resolution in FY 14.

AUCD and other disability and public health advocates are urging Congress to come together and work on a budget agreement that cancels sequestration in FY 2013 and beyond and replaces it with a more balanced long-term approach to deficit reduction. AUCD is also advocating for the Administration and Congress to avoid a piecemeal approach to eliminating the sequester (like the FAA carve-out described in last week's In Brief).

AUCD emailed an action alert to network members urging them to educate their Members of Congress about the impact of sequestration and other existing budget cuts on programs that support people with disabilities and families. Please use our quick online survey to tell us your sequestration stories.  AUCD is collecting stories to share with Members of Congress.


Thirteen (13) Members of Congress joined Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) in signing a Dear Colleague letter asking for at least level funding for the UCEDD and LEND programs in FY 2014 appropriations. The letter was addressed to Jack Kingston, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education, and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the ranking member. In addition, 34 Members of Congress also joined Rep Langevin in signing a Dear Colleague letter supporting level funding for the Lifespan Respite Act programs. Thanks to network members who took the time to reach out to their Members to urge them support this funding.


On Tuesday May 7, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), will hold a hearing titled, "Raising the Bar: Exploring State and Local Efforts to Improve Accountability." According to the committee announcement, the hearing will "offer members an opportunity to examine the appropriate federal role in accountability and explore innovative state and local efforts to hold schools accountable for student performance." To learn more about this hearing, visit

Restraints and Seclusion

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), ranking minority member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, announced his intention to re-introduce the "Keeping All Students Safe Act" this Wednesday, May 8.  AUCD will be sending a letter of support and helping Rep. Miller seek co-sponsors.  It will be very important to get as many co-sponsors as possible in the House to put pressure on its leadership to consider the bill in Committee.  In the last Congress, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), the current chair of the Education Committee, would not allow the bill to be considered, stating that the issue should be left up to the states.  On the Senate side, HELP Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) is also ready to introduce a companion bill.  He is currently seeking a Republican co-sponsor. 

Family and Medical Leave Act

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) have introduced the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act, a reauthorization of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that would expand the types of family members to whom the law applies. Originally passed in 1993, FMLA allows workers to take unpaid leave to care for a spouse, child, or parent. The reauthorization would expand the law to include adult children, siblings, grandparents, and same-sex spouses or partners. AUCD supports the legislation.


Last week, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) released the "Making Medicaid Work" blueprint to reform Medicaid. A key provision included in the plan is per capita caps which would limit the amount of federal dollars spent on each beneficiary. While the proposal contains provisions that could improve the consumer experience and have potential to control costs, like increasing price transparency and improving care coordination, disability advocates have strong concerns that imposing a per-capita cap on Medicaid spending would fail to keep up open-market health care costs and shift costs on to states or reduce consumer access to care. AUCD and CCD oppose Medicaid per-capita-caps. The proposal would also allow for more beneficiary cost-sharing and repeal "Maintenance of Effort" rules that prohibit states from reducing eligibility to save costs during the implementation of the ACA.

Health Reform Hub Update

Latest News on State-Level Health Reform Implementation

Looking for a list of basic facts and the latest updates on where states stand with Health Insurance Exchanges, Medicaid Expansion, duals demonstrations, managed care, and other ACA implementation activities? Check out AUCD's Health Reform Hub for interactive maps and links to detailed state information. This page compiles resources from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Advisory Board Company, and National Association of State United for Aging and Disability in one convenient location to provide continuously updated state-level information.


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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