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Major Recent Events
Housing – Senate Committee Votes to Approve Carson Nomination
On January 24, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee voted unanimously to recommend that the full Senate confirm Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 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 view archived video of the hearing.
Transportation – Senate Committee Votes to Approve Chao Nomination
On January 24, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee voted unanimously to recommend the full Senate confirm Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation. The Department of Transportation’s mission is to “Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.” Visit the Committee web site for more information or to view archived video of the hearing.
Tax Policy – Five States Open ABLE Plans
Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, and North Carolina have recently launched qualified ABLE programs, bringing the total number of states with ABLE programs to 16. These programs are open to all eligible individuals nationwide. They are all part of the National ABLE Alliance, which offers six different investment options. The investment options have asset-based fees ranging from 0.34% to 0.38%. Additionally, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, and North Carolina charge a quarterly account maintenance fee of $15, which is discounted by $3.75 for those who receive statements electronically. Kansas, Minnesota, and Nevada all offer an additional $1.25 discount for state residents. Iowa charges an annual account maintenance fee of $40 and an additional $15 fee for those choosing to receive statements by mail. The minimum initial deposit in all six states is $25. More information about state implementation the ABLE Act can be found here.
Major Upcoming Events
Education – Senate Committee Schedules Vote on DeVos Nomination
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education on January 31. The Department of Education is responsible for implementation of federal education laws including Every Student Succeeds Act, the Higher Education Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.
Rights – Senate Committee Schedules Vote on Sessions Nomination
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for Attorney General on January 31. The Attorney General is a cabinet level position in charge of the Department of Justice, which is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.
Disability Policy Seminar – Registration for the 2017 Seminar is open
The 2017 Disability Policy Seminar will be held in Washington, D.C from from March 20-22. 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.
The Arc Mourns the Death of James V. Healey
The Arc mourns the death of James V. Healey, long-time former Executive Director of The Arc in Rhode Island. Jim had a 45-year career in working on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He was pivotal in working with Senator John Chafee (R-RI) who championed the earliest Congressional efforts to decrease federal and state reliance on institutions and to build home and community support systems. See more information here.
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