AUCD Legislative News In Brief

April 21, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
  April 21, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 16
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Congressional Schedule

Both the House and Senate are in recess this week and next for the Passover/Easter holiday. Recess provides an opportunity to visit members while they are in their state offices or at holiday events.  For background on current status of legislative issues important to people with disabilities, see the fact sheets developed for the Disability Policy Seminar that took place April 7-9.

 Federal Budget

The Congressional Budget Office released an update to this year's budget projections. This report also updates the baseline used for "scoring" the budgetary effects of proposed legislation. The deficit and debt projections remain largely the same as the last report, showing shrinking deficits in the coming years due to short-term austerity measures like sequestration and rising deficits in the long-term due to the aging of the population, rising health costs, and interest payments. CBO has revised its estimate for this year's deficit to be $23 billion less than they estimated in February, mostly due to lower outlays for discretionary programs and net interest payments.


The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing on the National Institutes of Health FY15 Budget Request. Watch the hearing, including NIH Director Francis Collins' testimony, on the committee website.

Law Enforcement Hearing

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights will hold a hearing titled Law Enforcement Responses to Disabled Americans: Promising Approaches to Protecting Public Safety on April 29 at 10am ET. Recent high-profile cases have brought the public's attention to the need for law enforcement officers to receive additional training. Some state and local law enforcement agencies have taken the lead in developing innovative solutions, such as crisis intervention teams, resulting in fewer injuries and deaths among officers and people with disabilities, increased jail diversion rates, and stronger ties with disability communities. This hearing will explore how the federal government can support and strengthen these efforts. The hearing is open to the public and will likely be streamed live on the committee website. Patti Saylor of New Market, Maryland will testify. She is the mother of Ethan Saylor, a 26-year-old man with Down syndrome who died of asphyxiation while being restrained by police off-duty sheriff's deputies in Frederick, Maryland.

CRPD/Disability Treaty

AUCD members met key Senators during the Disability Policy Seminar hill day on April 9 to urge them to overcome partisanship, research the facts, and support the Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities, the Disability Treaty.  Congressional recess is another good time to reach out directly to Senators while they are in their home offices.  To help with talking points, Pat Morrisey (former ADD Commissioner) has provided some tips for reaching out to several targeted Senators: Robert Portman (OH), Dean Heller (NV), Richard Burr (NC), and John Boozman (AR).  For more tips on educating senators and the public, see Morrissey's blog spot dedicated to promoting the disability treaty: We Can Do This If We Try.

Social Security

AUCD signed on to comments (due today) prepared by the CCD Social Security Task Force in response to the proposed rule that would require a claimant, and by reference his/her representative, to "inform us [SSA] about or submit all evidence known to you that relates to whether or not you are blind of disabled"  (see 79 Fed. Reg. 9663; Feb. 20, 2014).  CCD states its belief that the current statutory and regulatory scheme provides adequate procedures and tools for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to address submission of evidence issues.  CCD further urges SSA not to implement this NPRM in its current form, unless significant changes are made to limit the scope of the proposed revisions in order to protect the rights and interests of claimants and to avoid significant inefficiencies and uncertainties for the agency.  CCD believes the proposed changes are overly broad in scope, lack specificity, and could lead to unbridled discretion in adjudicators.  In addition, they could add a formality to a process which is intended to be informal and non-adversarial. The full comments will be posted on the CCD website soon.  

AUCD Unleased: The Power of Engagement

Proposals Due June 2

AUCD and the Conference Planning Committee are excited to extend this Call for Participation for the 2014 AUCD Conference AUCD Unleashed: The Power of Engagement. The 2014 theme reflects AUCD's goal of achieving an elevated level of engagement with our respective and collective communities, networks, and well beyond, in order to better inform, enhance, and enrich our collective activities to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families. Learn more at

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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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