AUCD Legislative News In Brief

December 9, 2013

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  December 9, 2013   |  Vol. XIII, Issue 48
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Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are both in session this week - the last week this year that both houses will be in session. This week Congress is expected to focus on the budget conference committee, which has a deadline of this Friday to come to agreement, and a series of other year-end deadlines including the farm bill subsidies, physician payment rates in Medicare, long-term unemployment benefits, and a ban on plastic guns.


The budget conference committee, led by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), has until this Friday, December 13 to reach an agreement. A budget conference committee is meant to be a typical part of the budget process that sets joint Congressional fiscal priorities and topline appropriations figures for the coming year but stark differences between the House and Senate have prevented the Congress from reaching a bicameral agreement for years. Congress formed this conference committee as part of the October 16 deal that passed a continuing resolution for the current fiscal year and suspended the debt ceiling. While some hoped that the committee would produce the "Grand Bargain" that might include tax reform, an end to the sequester, or reform to mandatory entitlement spending, committee leaders have stressed from the start that a smaller deal is much more likely. Recent reports indicate that the leaders - Murray and Ryan - are close to an agreement on proposed legislation that would partially repeal the sequester and bring discretionary spending to $1.001 trillion for FY14 and FY15. This figure is lower than the $1.058 trillion proposed by the Senate but higher than the $967 billion cap imposed by the sequester and mirrored in House budget proposals. They would pay for the proposal through fees and other revenue, including Federal Aviation Administration fees and changes to federal employee retirement contributions.

While the committee is supposed to report a plan by December 13, this date has no immediate impact and the real deadlines come early in the new year. The current continuing resolution expires January 15 and the debt limit is reinstated February 7 (meaning the US would probably hit the debt limit sometime in March). This budget conference agreement is the first step in creating the appropriations bills or continuing resolution to fund federal government activities beyond January 15 and dealing with the debt ceiling. AUCD signed on to a letter asking the committee to replace the entire sequester with a bipartisan  approach to deficit reduction that balanced spending cuts with revenue increases. The National Association of State United for Aging and Disabilities has produced a report that explains the Budget Control Act, sequester, and projected funding if the sequester is not fixed.

Affordable Care Act

Days Remaining in Open Enrollment: 112

With the website for federally facilitated exchanges at, many more people are seeking coverage through the Marketplaces. Enrolling in coverage is particularly important for people in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) that was created in the ACA as a bridge between 2010 and 2014. The PCIP will not operate after December 31, so PCIP enrollees must enroll in a new plan on the Marketplace by December 23 for a plan that starts January 1, 2014 to avoid interruptions in coverage. If individuals enroll after December 23, their coverage will not start until February 1, 2014 at the earliest.

Family Support

The AARP Public Policy Institute has produced a report on family caregivers for older adults and people with disabilities. The report, called "Listening to Family Caregivers: The Need to Include Family Caregiver Assessment in Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Service (HCBS) Waiver Programs" presents findings from the first detailed analysis of family caregiver assessment tools and processes used in Medicaid HCBS waiver programs , highlights "promising practices" in family caregiver assessment, and provides policy recommendations to expand HCBS and support caregiving families .

International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the Disabilities Treaty

December 3rd was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In the spirit of this year's theme, "Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all," the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) called on the Senate to ratify the Disability Treaty and encouraged advocates to take action by contacting their Senators and urging them to support the treaty. President Obama, UN Ambassador Samantha Power, Disabled People's International (DPI), and the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN), and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) also called for ratification of the Disability Treaty. Senator Harkin said, "Since the passage of the ADA, we have made real progress in opening the doors of opportunity to millions of Americans with disabilities, but there is more work to be done. Continuing this work starts with the Senate ratifying the CRPD to reaffirm America's rightful place as the world leader in protecting the rights of people with disabilities. This vital treaty would build on the work of the ADA and help to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy equal access around the world. I am hopeful that in working on a bipartisan basis with my colleagues, and by continuing to educate other members on the importance of the treaty, we can get the support we need to ratify the treaty during this Congress." You can join these leaders and show your support through For more inspiration, watch David Morrissey - Executive Director of USICD - on CCTV.


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

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