AUCD Legislative News In Brief

October 21, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  October 21, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 42
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Congressional Schedule

Both chambers are in recess this week.


On October 16 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reached an agreement to end the partial government shutdown and avert default on US obligations. The Senate quickly approved the bill by a vote of 81-18, followed by a House vote of 285-144 and the president's signature in the early morning hours of October 17. The agreement continues appropriations for federal agencies until January 15, raises the debt ceiling until February 7, and increases some of the steps that the Department on Health and Human Services (HHS) must take in verifying the incomes of those applying for subsidies in the Health Insurance Marketplaces. To see how your members voted, see AUCD's Action Alert on the vote.

The law also requires a conference committee to create a joint House and Senate budget plan by December 13. These plans (Concurrent Budget Resolutions) are supposed to be a regular part of the budget process. The committee is tasked with ironing out the significant differences between the Senate Budget Resolution, created under the leadership of Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA), and House Budget Resolution, created under the leadership of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). For more information on the two plans, see the March 18  In Brief and AUCD's comparison of the two plans. The House and Senate have already named members of the conference committee. Representative Ryan voted against the final deal because it did not do enough to reduce the long-term debt.

Affordable Care Act

Despite the fact that the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was at the center of the shutdown and early negotiations to resolve the impasse, the final deal on the continuing resolution (see Budget above) has little impact on the ACA. The change was based on a bill originally passed by the House that would have changed how applicants' incomes are verified when applying for subsidies. (For more information, see the September 16 In Brief.) However, the final law does not include those changes, but simply requires the HHS Secretary and Inspector General to issue a report to Congress on the details of income-verification system for subsidies and effectiveness of that system.

AUCD staff attended a White House event today where President Obama promised that the problems with website portal were being addressed and will be improved. He reminded listeners that the ACA is "more than just a website" - it's about insurance reforms and Medicaid expansions - and stressed that people can also apply on the phone or on paper. For people with disabilities, the ACA has also brought more home and community based services and protection from discrimination in health insurance.

AUCD's Health Reform Workgroup will hold their October conference call tomorrow at 4pm ET. The discussion will focus on AUCD Network members serving as Health Insurance Navigators and other consumer assistance. Clarke Ross of the American Association on Health and Disability will also share information about the newly awarded National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative grant. If you are a Navigator or other consumer assistance program in the Health Insurance Marketplaces please join this call to share and learn from others in the network doing similar work!

Older American Act

The Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee is scheduled to mark up a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA, S. 1562) through 2018. The bill was introduced by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair and Ranking Member of the HELP  Committee, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT),  Chairman of the HELP Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging.  The bill includes improvements supported by AUCD, including a change to the National Family Caregivers Support Program to ensure that older adults caring for children with disabilities will be eligible for services. The bill also Improves Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) coordination with area agencies on aging and other community-based entities in disseminating information regarding available home and community-based services for individuals who are at risk for, or currently residing in, institutional settings and updates the definition of "Aging and Disability Resource Center" to be consistent with current practice and current law, including an emphasis on independent living and home and community-based services.


The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) released a report on Amtrak's failure to meet their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), despite the fact that the ADA gave Amtrak 20 years to comply. NDRN and other disability organizations visited 94 stations in 25 states and the District of Columbia to find and document the evidence in the report.  The report contains a full review of Amtrak's non-compliance with the ADA, state-by-state findings of the reviews, and recommendations for Amtrak, Congress, and the Administration

AUCD Annual Meeting

Over 450 are already registered for the upcoming AUCD Annual Meeting (Nov. 16-19) at the Renaissance.  There are several exciting events related to public policy.  On Wednesday, Nov. 20, an interactive panel will explore the interaction of diversity and disabilities. Speakers will share federal initiatives related to reducing discrimination and health disparities and increasing civil rights and equality for people with disabilities and other diverse populations.  Speakers currently confirmed for this panel are Chai Feldblum Commissioner, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Patricia Shiu, Director: Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, US Department of Labor; and Rebecca Bond, Chief, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, Department of Justice.  See the full program for other exciting and informative events.

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 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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