NEW – Thank You Advocates
Major Upcoming Events
Education – Full Senate Vote on Education Secretary to be Held as Soon as This Afternoon
The full Senate resumes consideration of Betsy Devos to lead the Department of Education today, with the vote as soon as this afternoon. This follows last week’s party line vote of 12-11 by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to advance the nomination. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have publicly stated their intent to vote no on the final confirmation vote. Because this will result in a 50-50 tie vote if all other Senators vote along party lines, Vice President Mike Pence is expected to preside so that he can break the tie. 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. The event will be livestreamed here.
Social Security – House to Hold Joint Hearing Series on Social Security’s Representative Payee Program
The House Ways and Means Committee’s Social Security and Oversight Subcommittees will hold a series of hearings on Social Security’s Representative Payee Program. The first hearing in the series will take place on February 7 and is entitled “Examining the Social Security Administration’s Representative Payee Program: Determining Who Needs Help.” Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.
Major Recent Events
Transportation – Senate Approves Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation
On January 24, the Senate confirmed Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao with a vote of 93-6. 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.”
Rights – Senate Committee Approves Nominee for Attorney General
On February 1, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to favorably report the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be Attorney General. 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 view archived video of the hearing.
Health – Senate Committee Approves Nominee to Head HHS
On February 1, the Senate Finance Committee voted to favorably report the nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to be 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 Committee web site for more information or to view archived video of the hearing.
Budget & Appropriations – Senate Committee Approves Budget Office Nominee
On February 2, the Senate Budget Committee voted to favorably report the nomination of Rep. Mike Mulvaney (R-SC) to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The 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 the archived video of the hearing.
Civil Rights – The Arc Issues Statement on Leaked Draft Executive Order
In light of a recently leaked draft Executive Order that would impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are legally residing in the United States as well as people with I/DD who are hoping to legally immigrate, The Arc released a statement:
“We are facing a civil rights crisis in our nation and people with disabilities are in the crosshairs with the latest draft Executive Order being circulated in the White House. The Executive Order, if finalized and signed by the President, would discriminate against immigrants with disabilities, making it harder to legally enter or remain in the country. To deport individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are in our country legally or prevent them from immigrating, goes against the values of our nation.”
Read the full statement on The Arc’s blog
Disability Policy Seminar – Registration for the 2017 Seminar is Open
The 2017 Disability Policy Seminar will be held in Washington, D.C. 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. Access to health care and community living supports, bedrock civil rights protections, and Medicaid 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, D.C. 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 unique insight of the survey strengthens advocacy and informs policy changes at the Federal and State levels. 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 of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423