AUCD Legislative News In Brief

September 23, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  September 23, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 38
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Congressional Schedule

Both houses of Congress are in session this week, with House leaders considering continuing the session into next weekend to address the looming fiscal year end and need to raise the debt ceiling. The House has already passed a continuing resolution (see FY 2014 Appropriations), which the Senate is expected to take up this week.

FY 2014 Appropriations and Affordable Care Act

The House voted 230-189 Friday on a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government operating through Dec. 15 in the absence of passing any FY 2014 annual appropriations bills.  Unfortunately, the House included a provision that prevents ANY funding to implement the Affordable Care Act.  Essentially, the vote for the CR was a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act set to go into effect in just eight days (Oct. 1).  Only two Democrats and one Republican crossed party lines in the vote.

The next step is for the Senate to vote on the CR.  The Senate is expected to remove the House CR's provision barring funds for implementing the ACA and send it back to the House.  The Senate may also increase the CR's funding level from the $986.3 billion funding level proposed by the House to the $1.058 trillion level, which is included in the Senate's FY 2014 budget and is the 2014 spending level set by the Budget Control Act of 201 minus sequestration cuts.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that the House will hold a vote next week on another bill that would extend the debt ceiling for one year in exchange for a delay in implementing the ACA for one year. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and other Senate leaders have indicated that they will oppose attempts by the House to defund or delay ACA implementation. President Obama announced that he would veto any CR that defunds the ACA.

Once a CR passes the Senate, the House will need to decide whether to agree with the Senate version and send it on to President Obama for his signature or oppose the Senate measure and risk a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

AUCD recorded the vote in its action center so that visitors can see how their Representatives voted on the ACA provision.  AUCD also created an action alert and sample letter for anyone who wishes to contact their members of Congress regarding their vote. For more information on continuing resolutions in the current political context, see this video from The Washington Post.

ACA: Countdown to Open Enrollment

Days until open enrollment begins: 8

In preparation for open enrollment, AUCD's State Health Reform Workgroup will present a webinar to provide updates on the current state of health reform implementation and key details affecting people with disabilities, families, and professionals. The webinar will focus on the Health Insurance Marketplaces and Medicaid expansion and discuss ways that AUCD network members can be involved during open enrollment and in future state-level actions that will shape how people with disabilities access health insurance. Presenters will be Rachel Patterson, Policy Analyst at AUCD and David Deere, Director of the Partners for Inclusive Communities, the Arkansas UCEDD. Register for the webinar here.

Days until coverage begins: 100

Today marks 100 days until coverage begins for plans purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplaces and coverage under the Medicaid expansion. While consumers can begin shopping and comparing plans starting October 1, coverage (for those who purchase insurance between October 1 and December 15) will begin on January 1, 2014. While some have been concerned that cost and plan information is not yet available, consumers will have two-and-a-half months to shop for coverage that will begin January 1, and can continue to shop for coverage until open enrollment closes on March 31, 2014 - a six-month window in which to consider their options.

Long-Term Care Commission

On September 18 the Long-Term Care Commission held its last hearing and released its final report. The commission voted 9-6 to approve the report with both bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition. Five of the six dissenting commissioners have issued their own statement and recommendations (see also last week's In Brief). AUCD responded to the report, thanking the commissioners for their service but expressing disappointment that the commission did not provide comprehensive or actionable recommendations to address the financing of long-term services and support. Henry Claypool, a member of the commission and Executive Vice President of the American Association of People with Disabilities also issued his own statement and proposals which include expanding opportunities for people with disabilities to remain employed and access LTSS, improve consumer navigation of the LTSS system, allow tax-preferred savings accounts for families with individuals with disabilities, and address the institutional bias in Medicaid.


AUCD staff participated in a U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy briefing on its employment first initiatives.  The briefing, entitled "Rising to the Occasion: National Trends in Employment First Policy, Practice & Systems Change," featuring presentation by national experts sharing national trends and best practices in employing people with developmental and other disabilities.  State leaders from WA, IA, TN, and OR, informed participants about ODEP's Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program. ODEP officials and staff also provided information about an online "Community of Practice," initiative that any state advocates or professionals interested in sharing strategies for adopting state policies that lead to increased employment outcome for individuals with disabilities, may join (go to to register).  Find out more about the Employment First initiatives on the ODEP website.

The Department (@USDOL) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (@EEOC_OFO) will hold a twitter chat on Wednesday, September 15 from 1-2pm ET to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act. Use the hashtag #RehabAct to participate and follow the discussion.

Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee John Kline (R-MN) and Chairman of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee Tim Walberg (R-MI) have requested information on the rules finalized a few weeks ago by the Department of Labor (DOL) regarding section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and hiring of people with disabilities. DOL released the rules on August 27 of this year, setting a nation-wide goal for federal contractors to have 7% of their workforce be people with disabilities (see September 3 In Brief). The chairmen express concerns that DOL lacks the statutory authority for the regulation and that they did not allow enough time for public comment. AUCD believes the final Rule, which outlines the nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements for people with disabilities in the federal contractor sector, will increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities because federal contractors employ about 22 percent of the nation's workforce.

Food Stamps/SNAP

The House voted 217-210 on a bill to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as "food stamps".  This bill cuts ten-times more than the Senate-passed legislation and follows a long-term effort in the House to reauthorize the agriculture and food security law, including failed votes because some Members thought the cuts were too small (see last week's In Brief). The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has prepared an analysis of the negative impact of the cuts, including state-by-state data.

Final Companionship Rule

The Department of Labor published a Final Rule to protect direct care workers who have been unintentionally exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions.  The rule limits the use of the companionship exemption to direct care workers not employed by home care agencies and other third parties. Family members and workers whose services are contracted for directly by the person served remain not subject to minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The final rule also clarifies that direct care workers who perform medically-related services for which training is typically a prerequisite are not companionship workers and therefore are entitled to the minimum wage and overtime. Individual workers who are employed only by the person receiving services or that person's family or household and engaged primarily in fellowship and protection (providing company, visiting or engaging in hobbies) and care incidental to such activities, will still be considered exempt from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime protections.  Because the proposed Rule was controversial and there are serious concerns about further unintended consequences, the effective date of the final regulations is extended until Jan. 1 of 1915.The extended effective date is intended to provide time to adjust to the new Rule.  See the DOL news release for 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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