Capitol Insider


Major Events Ahead

Emergency Management – New Webinar On Emergency Management and

The ADA National Network is hosting a new webinar at 2:30 pm EDT on April 9, 2015
titled: “Looking at Power Issues from 2 Perspectives: A Utility and the American Red
Cross,” as part of an ongoing series, Emergency Management and Preparedness:
Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.  Michael Edwards of the American Red Cross
joins Paul Hernandez and Enrique Hernandez of the City of Los Angeles to discuss
the issue of power loss during an emergency, and how it can be a complex threat for
individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.  Click here
to register

Emergency Management – Call for Comments

The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America
(RESNA) Standards Committee on Emergency Stair Travel Devices has drafted a
RESNA Position Paper on the Use of Evacuation Chairs which has been posted on
their website at for a comment period ending April 8th.

Major Events Last Week

Budget & Appropriations – House and Senate Pass Fiscal Year 2016 Budget
Resolutions: Proposals Include Major Cuts to Programs Including Medicaid

As expected, the House and Senate passed their Fiscal Year 2016 Budget
Resolutions last week.  The measures passed with votes nearly along party lines of
228-199 and 52-46, respectively.  Both contain drastic cuts to the entitlement and
discretionary programs that people with disabilities rely on.  They would cut funding by
block granting the Medicaid program (called “flexible state allotments”), privatizing the
Medicare program, and freezing discretionary funding over the next decade.

Additionally, the House budget resolution includes several harmful provisions on Social
Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). It reiterates a House rule that creates roadblocks
to preventing a 20 percent across-the-board SSDI benefit after 2016, and proposes
cutting SSDI for people who also receive Unemployment Insurance after trying to work,
but losing their job. The Senate budget resolution does not include these provisions.

Passage of the two resolutions paves the way for the House and Senate to begin
negotiating a joint budget resolution.   See The Arc’s statement on the passage of the
budget resolutions.  See a more detailed summary of what is in the budget resolutions
in last week’s edition at

House summary –

Senate summary –

Medicare – House Passes Bi-Partisan Medicare Fix

By an overwhelming margin, the House passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and Chip
Reauthorization Act, which would change the way Medicare reimburses physicians and
would extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years.
The bipartisan bill passed 392-37.  The Senate is planning to take up the measure
when it returns in two weeks.  If Congress does not act, Medicare providers face a 21%
cut in their reimbursement for medical care provided to eligible Medicare beneficiaries.
The bill also would make permanent a program to help low income Medicare
beneficiaries pay for premiums and would permanently expand a Medicaid provision
that helps families on Medicaid maintain their coverage for one year as they transition
from temporary assistance to work.  The bill also would extend the therapy cap
exceptions process and the Family –to-Family Health Information Centers for two years.
The Arc supports making these provisions permanent as well as a longer extension of

Employment – Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated
Employment for Individuals with Disabilities Meeting Held

Last week, the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment
for Individuals with Disabilities, which was mandated by Section 609 of the Workforce
Innovation and Opportunity Act
, held its second meeting. To access the Committee
, meeting agenda, testimony, meeting minutes, and other updates, click here.

Department of Labor – Homecare Rule

Recently, Secretary Thomas Perez, Department of Labor, sent a letter to Governors
advising them to be prepared to implement the Fair Labor Standards Act to domestic
service (referred to as the Homecare Rule), and therefore be mindful of budgetary
considerations.  The rule, initially intended to be implemented on January 1, 2015, was
put on hold due to a pair of rulings from the US District Court vacating provisions.  The
Department of Labor has filed an appeal, and in response, the Court of Appeals has
ordered that it proceed on an expedited schedule.  The case will be fully submitted in
early May, and the Court of Appeals can issue a decision at any point thereafter.  For
more information, visit


Disability Policy Seminar

It’s almost here!  The Disability Policy Seminar will take place April 13-15, 2015 at the
Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Don’t miss out; register here.
Make sure your voice is heard on critical disability policy issues!

Disability Policy Seminar – Webinar 3/31/15

If you are a first-timer to the Disability Policy Seminar, you should register for the
Association on University Centers on Disabilities’ (AUCD) webinar, “Know Before You
Go: Preparing for the Disability Policy Seminar 2015.” 
Presented by AUCD’s Director
of Public Policy, Kim Musheno, this hosting organization’s webinar offers an orientation
to the current policy issues one can expect to learn about at the Disability Policy
Seminar.  The webinar covers the basics of how to make an appointment to meet with
Congressional representatives, how to deliver a unified message about federally
funded programs that benefit people with disabilities, and tips on preparing for and
making hill visits.  The webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, at 2:00 EDT.

Education – Grant Available for Preventing Restraint and Seclusion

TASH has a partnership with the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care and
Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint to provide a training program and learning
community.   This opportunity is available for school or agency leadership teams
interested in working with a cross-disciplinary group of up to five organizations in a
pilot hybrid of virtual learning and on-site technical assistance over an 18-month period.
Please submit completed applications to no later than April 8.  See
the application at

Tax Policy – Resource Offered on State-by-State ABLE Act Legislation

In December 2014, the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)
Act was signed into law.  Since that time, states have started to develop their own
legislation to implement the federal law. As a result, in over half of the states, ABLE Act
legislation has emerged in the past several months.  To assist individuals with I/DD, their
families, and advocates in tracking their states’ progress, The Arc has produced a
comprehensive listing of state-by-state legislation.  This can be used as an advocacy tool
and offers valuable information, such as names and contact information of sponsors,
current status of the bill(s), and a link to bill language.   The Arc plans to update this
document on a weekly basis in an effort to provide the most current information.  If you
would like to view this document, please do so here.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)

Copyright © , All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Copyright © , All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is: