AUCD Legislative News In Brief

aucd_bulletAUCD Legislative News In Brief

Oct. 13, 2008

Vol. VIII, Issue 37


Congressional Schedule

Congress is in recess; however, the Senate plans to convene a “Lame Duck” session Nov. 17-19.  The House of Representatives has adjourned for the year and plans to reconvene on Jan. 3, 2009. 


Higher Education Act

On Wednesday, October 8, 2008 Tammie Picklesimer, the AUCD Disability Policy Fellow, provided oral comments on behalf of AUCD at the U.S. Department of Education regarding the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315).   The recommendations concern access to financial aid for students with intellectual disabilities.  Members from the AUCD network collaborated with the National Down Syndrome Society and other disability organizations to prepare the comments.  In addition, AUCD organized joint comments supported by 13 disability organizations. To view AUCD’s comments: click here. To view joint comments by 13 disability organizations: click here. The next step is for the department to review all public comments and publish a notice announcing the request for nominations of individuals to participate on the negotiated rulemaking committees.  


Health Care Reform

AUCD signed on to a letter to Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Bennett (R-UT) expressing concerns about their health care reform bill, the Healthy Americans Act (S. 334).  The letter was organized by the National Health Law Program.  The bill aims to achieve universal health coverage and it has many positive provisions.  It currently has 17 co-sponsors and has become attractive to some due to a cost-neutral approach of expanding coverage.  However, it would largely replace Medicaid and SCHIP – leaving low-income individuals at significant risk of losing the critical protections guaranteed by these programs (e.g. regarding benefits, cost-sharing and due process) while being placed in a private insurance market that has traditionally excluded them.  As currently drafted, the bill would place people with disabilities and special health care needs at particular risk.  For more information, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently issued the following analysis:


Elections Outcome and Legislative Affairs at the AUCD Annual Meeting

The Legislative Affairs Committee helped to plan an exciting plenary session at the upcoming Annual Meeting.  On Wednesday, Nov. 12, Nathan Gonzales, political editor of The Rothenberg Political Report, will discuss the outcome of the elections that will have just taken place.  Marty Ford, Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, will discuss the impact of the elections on the disability agenda. Finally, Julio Abreu, President of the Coalition on Health Funding, has been invited to discuss the budget and appropriations outlook for the coming year.  The Legislative Affairs Committee is also sponsoring a legislative affairs briefing for all meeting participants immediately following the business meeting on Sunday, Nov. 9 from 6 – 7 p.m.  (The business meeting is scheduled from 4:30 – 6 p.m.)  At the briefing, AUCD staff will report on legislative achievements in the 110th Congress and discuss what might be on the legislative agenda in the first session of the 111th Congress.  Visit the AUCD website for more program information.


Legislative Goals Development

For the last several years, The Arc, UCP, AAIDD, ANCOR and AUCD have collaboratively developed legislative goals to guide our joint public policy and advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill.  (AUCD will also be developing its own goals.) With the first session of the 111th Congress beginning in January 2009, we are in the process of updating these goals.  These goals will be distributed to all Members of Congress and will be used in our advocacy efforts related to the 2009 Disability Policy Seminar.  The Arc/UCP Policy Collaboration has created an electronic survey located at to get input from the membership of the collaborating organizations.  Responses to the survey questions will help determine what changes we make to our current legislative goals.  The Goals for the 110th Congress can be viewed on AUCD’s Public Policy website: (see Resources on right). Please take a few moments to fill out this brief 5-question survey. The deadline for completion is November 7.Thank you in advance for your effort.


Election Information

AUCD’s action center includes an election guide:  Type in your address to find out about the candidates running in your state and district.  To find out your current Members’ position on AUCD’s legislative priorities, visit the congressional directory:


Presidential Debate

The third and final presidential debate will take place Wednesday, October 15 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.  The debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent, and Host, Face the Nation.


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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