AUCD Legislative News In Brief

November 11, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  November 11, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 45
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AUCD continues to meet with staff of members of the budget conference committee to urge negotiators to replace the sequester with a long term balanced approach to deficit reduction. The committee has a December 13 deadline to come to agreement on an FY 2014 budget resolution. As reported in last week's In Brief, it appears that negotiators are leaning toward a small deal, not a "grand bargain," to replace sequestration for at least one or two years.  The hard part will be how to pay for replacing sequestration.  AUCD is urging committee members to include revenue, such as tax expenditures, and not make further cuts to important domestic investments, such as scientific research, education, employment, and health. AUCD is also urging a balanced approach, both between budget cuts and revenue increases, and between defense and non-defense funding. The NDD Coalition, of which AUCD is a member, is releasing a report, Faces of Austerity, on November 12 documenting the impact of the budget cuts that have taken place since 2011.  Release of the report will be followed by a Hill briefing on Nov. 13 to highlight the findings in the report.  The report will be published online at Follow the hashtags: #InvestInWhatWorks and/or #NoMoreCuts for more updates and chatter.

 Disability Treaty

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held the first of two hearings to discuss the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Tuesday, November 5. AUCD staff attended the hearing, which included supportive testimony from Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) (reading a letter from former Sentor Bob Dole (R-KS)), Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), former Secretary of Homeland Security and current chair of the National Council on Disability Tom Ridge, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-WI), and former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh. Michael Farris, Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, and Susan Yoshihara, of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, testified in opposition to the treaty. A video of the hearing is available on the committee website. Correction: Last week we reported that Timothy Meyer, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Georgia, would testify in opposition to the treaty. Mr. Meyer was invited to answer technical questions of international law, and did not testify in support or opposition to the treaty.

 The second hearing, originally scheduled for November 12, has been postponed. However, this is a critical time for advocates to contact Senators to educate them about the importance of the treaty. Resources can be found on AUCD's Disability Treaty page, the CRPD Action Center, and Ratify the CRPD Facebook page.

 Some of the following information and resources may also be of interest:

 State Department's Disability Treaty Portal

 Readout of the Vice President and Valerie Jarrett's meeting with leaders of disability rights and veterans organizations at the White House on November 1

A blog post by Stephen Pomper, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, White House National Security Staff

Blog post by Judith Heumann, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the State Department

Affordable Care Act

Days Remaining in Open Enrollment: 140

Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner both again appeared before Congress to testify about implementation, this time before the Senate Finance Committee and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Both appeared last week before the House. Questions from the committee members focused on the website, previous remarks by President Obama about changes to private health insurance, and proposed delays in Marketplace implementation and individual responsibility tax penalties for not carrying insurance.  Witnesses acknowledged that the federally-facilitated Marketplace website,, continues to face technical struggles; however, HHS officials stated that the site would be fixed by the end of November and there is still plenty of time for individuals to enroll.

Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee subpoenaed enrollment data from CMS, demanding the documents by Tuesday, November 12. Marilyn Tavenner, the CMS Administrator, repeated in the October 29 hearing that enrollment figures would be available by "mid-November."

The Americans with Disabilities Act: Why it Matters to Veterans

On Monday, November 4, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Veterans & Military Families Task Force and House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus hosted briefings in both the House and Senate on "The Americans with Disabilities Act: Why it Matters to Veterans." The briefings focused the ADA's employment protections for veterans living with disabilities and included speakers from the United Spinal Association, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Microsoft. The panelists also discussed discrimination toward veterans and others with disabilities and how the ADA applies to securing employment and asking for reasonable accommodations in the workplace.

Mental Health Rule

The Department of Health and Human Services published a final Rule Friday that prohibit insurers from charging higher co-payments or deductibles for mental health services than for treatment of physical conditions. The new regulations are part of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which requires insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders to be no more restrictive than coverage for medical and surgical services. The law applies to employers with more than 50 employees.  Subsequent congressional actions expanded the law's applicability to CHIP, Medicaid Managed Care, and insurance plans sold in marketplaces.

50th Anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Act

October 31, 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Act. Fifty years ago, President John F Kennedy signed the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act of 1963, which would eventually become the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Right Act (DD Act) and Community Mental Health Act. As the Administration for Community Living wrote in a blog post, the DD Act first authorized the UCEDD network and pre-dates the Rehabilitation Act (1973), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1975), Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Olmstead decision (1999) in promoting community living, equality, and self-determination for people with disabilities.

AUCD Annual Meeting

The AUCD Annual Meeting is next week! For those in the DC area, please join us for our free Wednesday morning plenary featuring key leaders in disability and civil rights. Representative James Langevin (D-RI), chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, will be speaking and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee currently considering the UN Disability Treaty, has been invited. The plenary session also will include panel discussions from Chai Feldblum, Commissioner of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Patricia Shiu, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the Department of Labor; Rebecca Bond, Chief of the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice; and Vince Campbell, Associate Director for Disability Inclusion and Public Health at CDC. Keep up with the conference on social media by following @AUCDMeet and our conference hashtag #AUCD2013.

New from the AUCD legislative staff: 7 Reasons Why You Are Absolutely Required to Educate Policymakers.

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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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