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Protect the Lifeline – Health Care is Under Attack

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Major Recent Events

Health – President Trump Signs ACA Executive Order

In one of his first actions after being sworn in, President Trump signed an executive order regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) instructing federal agencies to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay any part of the law that the agency determines negatively impacts those affected. Those affected include consumers, doctors, hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and other health care providers. It is unclear at this point how the federal agencies will move forward or what the response will be from the insurance industry or the states. The Arc is concerned about the impact these executive actions may have and will monitor them closely.


Education – Senate Held Hearing on Nominee for Education Secretary

President Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, responded to questions from the members of the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee. The nearly four hour hearing on January 17 included a series of questions related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In response to questions posed by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) regarding whether all schools that receive federal funding – whether public, public charter or private – should be required to meet the requirements of IDEA, Ms. DeVos replied, “I think they already are” and “I think that is a matter that is best left to the states,” and “I think that is certainly worth discussion.” In response to a follow-up question on the same topic by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), DesVos stated “Federal Law must be followed where federal dollars are in play.” Watch the archived hearing here (IDEA discussion begins at the 3 hour and 31 minute mark).

Major Upcoming Events

Budget & Appropriation – Senate Committee to Hold Hearing for OMB Director Nominee

On January 24, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Rep. Mike Mulvaney (R-SC) to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB is the largest division within the Executive Office of the President. It is charged with developing the budget and overseeing the implementation of the President’s agenda across the executive branch. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video on the day of the hearing.

Housing – Senate Committee Schedules Vote on HUD Secretary Nomination

The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on January 24. HUD is the cabinet level department that oversees federal housing programs and enforces housing laws such as the Fair Housing Act. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.

Health – Senate Finance Committee to Hold Hearing on HHS Secretary Nominee

On January 23, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS is the cabinet level department that administers most federal health and social service programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act programs, Developmental Disabilities Act programs, Head Start, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Additionally, it oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. Visit the Finance Committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held its hearing January 18. Visit the HELP Committee web site for more information or to access archived video of the hearing.


Employment – Rehabilitation Services Administration Releases FAQ on WIOA Definition of Integrated Location

The Rehabilitation Services Administration has released a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on the “integrated location” criteria of the definition of “competitive integrated employment” under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The setting must be “typically found in the community” and “Where the employee with a disability interacts, for the purpose of performing the duties of the position, with other employees within the particular work unit and the entire work site, and, as appropriate to the work performed, other persons (e.g., customers and vendors) who are not individuals with disabilities (not including supervisory personnel or individuals who are providing services to such employee) to the same extent that employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who are in comparable positions interact with these persons.” The document also provides further clarifications of the definition.

Education – Department of Education Releases ESSA Resources on Accountability and English Language Learners

The U.S. Department of Education released additional resources on January 19 to support States in transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Frequently Asked Questions on Accountability under Title I, Part A of law provides an overview of many of the key provisions for accountability and school improvement and includes descriptions of how States and local education agencies may meet these requirements, provides examples, and links to other related non-regulatory guidance. The resource guide on accountability for English learners describes accountability provisions for English learners in greater detail, including how they compare to previous authorizations of the law.

Education – Education Department Releases New Resources for Stakeholders

On January 18, The U.S. Department of Education released new resources for school officials, school staff, parents, and other stakeholder. These include a toolkit on social-emotional learning and School Climate Improvement Resource Package. Additionally, the department released new fact sheets on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act: one on religious discrimination in general and another on discrimination against Jewish students.

Disability Policy Seminar – Registration for the 2017 Seminar is open

The 2017 Disability Policy Seminar will be held on March 20-22 in Washington, D.C. This event is the premier opportunity to cultivate champions on Capitol Hill and advance the grassroots movement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). For over 40 years, this unique platform has offered the opportunity to come together with passionate advocates, self-advocates, experts, and professionals in the field to learn about key issues.

The first 100 days of any new Administration and Congress are key to setting the agenda-and this year, more than ever, The Arc needs you in Washington, DC to advocate for the lifeline programs. Access to health care and community living supports, bedrock civil rights protections, and the lifeline Medicaid program are at risk. The Disability Policy Seminar is your chance to make an impact! Register here.

Paul Marchand Internship Application for Summer 2017 Session Due Feb. 15

The Paul Marchand Internship Fund will provide $3,000 per semester or summer session to assist interns interested in pursuing careers in public policy advocacy for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD). For 38 years, Paul Marchand was a dedicated disability policy advocate and recognized leader working on behalf of people with I/DD and the larger disability community. Upon his retirement in 2011, The Arc, with substantial contributions from United Cerebral Palsy, other organizations, and individuals with whom Paul worked during his decades in Washington, established an internship to honor Paul and to continue to cultivate disability policy advocates. See more information here.

The Arc Seeking Caregivers for FINDS Survey

With the new year comes a new Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) Survey. We need your input! The Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota, in collaboration with The Arc, is seeking caregivers to share their perceptions on a range of life-span issues impacting individuals with I/DD. The Arc invites people aged 18 years or older who provide frequent primary support to a person with I/DD to participate. Take the survey here.

Tony Paulauski's signature

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
708-828-0188 (CELL)