AUCD Legislative News In Brief

April 4, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  April 7, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 14
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AUCD staff will be at the Disability Policy Seminar next week. We hope you enjoy this early edition of Legislative News In Brief for the week of April 7.

Congressional Schedule

The House and Senate are in both in session next week. The House may take up legislation to change the way the Congressional Budget Office determines the macroeconomic effects of legislation, also known as dynamic scoring.

Budget and Appropriations

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has released his proposed "The Path to Prosperity" budget for FY 2015. The budget proposes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, cut non-defense discretionary spending to below sequestration levels, converts Medicaid into a state block grant, converting Medicare into a voucher program, cut Pell Grants for low-income college students, and cut SNAP food benefits, among other cuts. The budget proposes to increase defense spending. The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and other advocacy groups have already issued strongly critical statements about the proposed budget.

House and Senate Appropriations Committees have begun work on appropriations bills for FY 2015, Last week two House sub-committees marked up bills regarding funding for the Legislative Branch and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs. The Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education bill that includes most funding for AUCD network programs is one of the biggest and most controversial so is likely to be considered last of the 12 bills. Both House and Senate Appropriations Chairs Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) have said they would like to get the bills done before the August recess in order to get them done before the Oct. 1 statutory deadline.  Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) have, once again, included UCEDD and LEND in their program funding requests.  Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) authored a letter to appropriators on behalf of all the DD Act programs (DD Councils, UCEDD, and P&A).  Please thank these champions!

Combating Autism Act

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Autism, DD, and Family Support Task Force sent a letter to Members of key House and Senate committee members with jurisdiction over the reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act yesterday. The letter garnered support of 33 national disability and public health organizations.  It is expected that bills to reauthorize the law will be introduced soon.  The Policy Seminar is hosting a panel on Tuesday morning featuring staff of from offices of Senator Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Smith (R-NJ), two of the lead sponsors of the law.

Affordable Care Act

Open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplaces ended on Monday, March 31. As of Tuesday, April 1, 7.1 million people signed up for private insurance plans through the marketplaces, exceeding the original enrollment estimates made by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). While many news outlets have focused on CBO's estimates, it is important to keep in mind that the estimate figures were not Obama administration goals (CBO is a nonpartisan arm of Congress, not part of the administration) but simply projections. For more important metrics like, affordability and access to care, see this piece from the Kaiser Family Foundation. President Obama announced the figures at a Rose Garden speech on Tuesday attended by AUCD staff.

Medicare Provider Payments

On Monday, March 31, the Senate passed a one-year "patch" to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that sets provider payments in Medicare. The House passed the same bill last week (see March 31 In Brief) and it was signed by the President before the March 31 midnight deadline to avoid a 23% cut in Medicare physician payments. The House and Senate had been working on a permanent repeal of the SGR, but could not come to an agreement on how to pay for the legislation. AUCD is happy to report that the one-year bill included provisions important to the disability community, including funding for Family to Family Health Information Centers and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.

Direct Care Workforce

The Department of Labor has released further guidance related to the final rule released last September regarding the application of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime protections for direct care workers. This guidance specifically addresses how the rule affects Medicaid shared living programs. It provides information to help determine whether a public entity, private third party agency, or individual receiving services is required to comply with the FLSA worker protections. For more information and other guidance, see the DOL resource page from the Wage and Hour Division.

Earned Income Tax Credit

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Jack Reed (D-RI) have introduced a bill to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to workers who do not have dependent children living with them and some low-income dual-earner families. The President made a similar proposal in his FY15 proposed budget. The 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act pays for the expansion by eliminating some corporate tax expenditures. Read more on the bill from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

White House Disability Liaison

Claudia Gordon, White House Public Engagement Officer has returned to her position at the Department of Labor. Her eight-month detail to the White House ended on March 28. AUCD joined much of the disability community in a letter to the White House applauding Ms. Gordon for her service and asking the White House to appoint her as full-time liaison to the disability community.  She will return to her position as Special Assistant to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs under Director Patricia Shiu, where she will work on implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Disability Policy Seminar

The Disability Policy Seminar begins on Monday, April 6! Fact sheets are posted online on key issues like CRPD, Community Living, Autism, and Health. Connect with others attendees from your state to network and plan your hill visits. Powerpoint presentations and other materials will be posted online after the seminar. Highlights include:

  • Sunday Trainee Symposium and Reception from 4-6. (Trainees can register for the Seminar as early as 3 p.m.)
  • Legislative Affairs Committee meeting is on Monday at Noon.
  • Opening Plenary Session: Forging a Path Toward Bipartisanship on Monday April 7th at 9:15 a.m. Our special guests will be leaders of the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). Founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell.
  • Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) will present to participants at the networking reception Monday April 7 at 4:30 p.m., our long time disability champion and one of the leaders of the Disability Treaty.
  • Tuesday morning (April 8th) will begin with a Meet and Greet Breakfast for Siblings and a Meet and Greet Breakfast for Self-Advocates, both starting at 8 a.m.

Be sure to follow our social media channels for updates during the seminar

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook
For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.
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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