AUCD Legislative News In Brief

May 13, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  May 13, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 19
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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are both in session this week. The House is scheduled to vote again to repeal the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), as well as another attempt to pass the "Helping Sick Americans Now Act", which would redistribute funds from the Prevention and Public Health Trust Fund into temporary high risk pools for people with pre-existing condition (See April 22 In Brief).  AUCD does not support either of these bills.

FY 2013Appropriations/Sequester

The final FY 2013 budget for the Administration for Community Living (ACL) has been released. Total budget authority for ACL was cut by $92 million from FY12 to FY13 due to sequestration, including a $2 million cut for the UCEDD program and a $9 million cut in funding for DD Network programs overall.

AUCD continues to collect stories of how the sequester and other cuts have impacted AUCD network programs. For more information on the sequester, the Center for Effective Government has created Sequestration Central, a hub of new stories and analyses about the sequester. ProPublica has also published Everything We Know about What's Happened Under Sequestration, which provides information about the impact of the sequester with background of how we got here. 

FY 2014 Appropriations

The House and Senate have still not been able to come to agreement on how they reach an overall amount of spending for the federal government, otherwise known as a joint budget resolution. The House of Representatives, where the Republicans are in the majority, want to use the roughly $967 billion spending cap set by recent budget law, which reflects the sequester. The Senate, controlled by Democrats, would instead use a higher $1.058 trillion pre-sequestration discretionary cap.  Without an overall spending agreement, the House and Senate will have a hard time coming to agreement on annual funding bills, especially the Labor, HHS, Education spending bill that funds most AUCD network programs.  Stay tuned!

Restraint and Seclusion

Congressman George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the House Education & Workforce Committee, along with 12 other bi-partisan co-sponsors, re-introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act (HR 1893) on May 9. The bill would ban the most harmful forms of restraint, ban restraint and seclusion except in emergencies where someone is in immediate danger of physical harm, require that parents be notified when restraint or seclusion are used on their child, and promote less restrictive alternatives like positive behavioral interventions and supports and de-escalation techniques. In July of 2012, Daniel Crimmins of the Center for Leadership in Disability testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on positive behavioral interventions and supports. (For more information, read the bill on AUCD's Action Center, see AUCD's statement, as well as last week's In Brief).


Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has introduced the Medicaid Accountability and Care (MAC) Act (HR 1853), a bill to change the funding structure of Medicaid to a per-capita-cap. Currently, Medicaid reimburses states a certain percentage of the cost of providing services through the Medicaid program, based on a state's per-capita income. This bill would change the formula to a set amount of federal funding for each person in Medicaid, with different amounts for each category of beneficiary: elderly, blind or disabled, children, and adults. AUCD is opposed to this legislation and is very concerned that it would shift costs to the states leaving them little choice but to cut Medicaid programs.

Immigration Reform

The Senate Judiciary Committee continues to work though the roughly 300 amendments to the bipartisan immigration reform bill introduced by the "Gang of Eight" in April. The bill seeks to find a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently residing in the US, improve the legal immigration process, increase boarder security, and improve the employment verification system. Issues important to people with disabilities include Medical Repatriation, the length of the waiting period to access public services like Medicare and Medicaid, and whether immigrants with disabilities would be disallowed entry based on the "public charge" prohibition that people likely to receive federal benefits should not be allowed permanent residence in the US. The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities is working with Members of the Friday Morning Collaborative, a coalition of aging and disability groups that work on long term services and supports, to monitor and provide input into the immigration reform debate to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are addressed. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care will host a webinar on May 23 about immigration reform and the direct support workforce for anyone interested in learning more about this issue.  

Student Loan Interest Rates

Interest rates on new federally subsidized student loans are set to double from 3.4% to 6.85 in July, based on legislation passed in 2011 that temporarily extended the lower rate. Both the Obama administration and House Republicans are pursuing long-term solutions that set the rate based on the rates for 10-year Treasury bonds. Senate Democrats have a slightly different proposal based on the rate for 91-day Treasury bonds. Both the Brookings Institution and Inside Higher Ed have analyses of the options and what they would mean for students receiving future federal loans.

Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities

In December of 2012, the Senate failed to ratify the CRPD missing the super-majority vote by only five votes.  The treaty has returned as a Senate priority in 2013 and support for ratification is only growing, with over 500 disability organizations and 22 veteran service organizations joined together for ratification. Organizations can join the list by completing this form. USICD hopes to have 1,000 organizations supporting CRPD in 2013.The U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) have scheduled a community leadership call on Thursday, May 16th, at 3PM ET (2PM CT/12PM PT) to discuss the status and plan for hearings on the treaty.  Network members are encouraged to join the call. Sen. Harkin will also be participating.

AUCD 2013 Annual Meeting: Call for Proposals

The 2013 AUCD Conference provides a special opportunity for network members and others to share interests, talents, and perspectives in the areas of promoting inclusion, increasing diversity, and a wide range of disability related topics with others in our network and our partners. This year's AUCD Conference theme "Promoting Inclusion in an Increasingly Diverse World" promotes our network values of inclusion of all persons with developmental and other disabilities in community life and engages the network in conversation and practices to ensure our work reflects the changing cultural and linguistic landscape in our Centers and States. Click on this link to submit a proposal or find more 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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