Appropriations –Plan for short term spending measure announced
A deal to fund the federal government from October 1, 2012 through March 1, 2013 under a Continuing Resolution was announced by Senate leadership, House leadership, and President Obama early last week. Although the agreement is still being drafted, it is expected to follow the $1.047 trillion discretionary spending limit agreed to under the Budget Control Act. The deal was announced almost two months before the end of the fiscal year. Congressional leaders have stated they plan to take up the bill in September.
Budget/Tax –House blocks Middle Class Tax Cut Act
On August 2, the House blocked S. 3412, the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, which had been passed by the Senate the week prior. The bill would provide a one year extension of the tax cuts originally enacted in 2001 and 2003 for households earning under $250,000. The Arc supports this bill to help ensure that revenue is raised fairly to pay for critical disability services and supports. Allowing the tax cuts to expire for households earning over $250,000 a year (the top 2% of earners) would generate about $1 trillion over 10 years. This funding is greatly needed to help protect important programs for people with disabilities (like Medicaid, Social Security, housing, education, and employment) from deep cuts and to reduce the deficit.
Housing – Senate holds hearing on HUD’s rental housing assistance programs
The Senate Committee on Banking, Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development held a hearing on “Streamlining and Strengthening HUD’s Rental Housing Assistance Programs.” Witnesses discussed the need for legislation to reform Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rental programs, and talked about how draft legislation under consideration in the House would strengthen HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program and other major HUD rental assistance programs. Visit the Committee web site for the hearing announcement and video of the hearing.
Employment – Senate Finance Committee votes to extend Work Opportunity Tax Credit
The Senate Finance Committee marked up draft legislation, the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, to extend a variety of expiring tax provisions. Among other provisions, the bill contains a two-year retroactive extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), with no changes to the program, through December 31, 2013. The WOTC is a Federal tax credit for employers that hire workers from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. WOTC target groups include beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income, persons referred from Vocational Rehabilitation, and veterans with disabilities. Visit the Committee web site for more information about the bill and Committee mark up.
Schedule for Capitol Insider
The United States Senate and the House of Representatives will be in recess from August 6 – September 10 for district work periods and the national political party conventions. While both chambers are out of session there may be little to report, so during this time Capitol Insider will be sent out as needed.
Employment – New Census report on Americans with Disabilities
The U.S. Census Bureau has released a new report, “Americans With Disabilities: 2010.” The report finds that approximately 57 million Americans, or nearly 1 in 5, have a disability, with more than half (87 million) reporting the disability as “severe.” About 4 in 10 working-age persons with a disability were employed, compared to 8 in 10 working-age persons without a disability. Adults with severe disabilities were about twice as likely as adults with non-severe disabilities to experience long-term poverty, defined as poverty lasting for over 2 years. The definition of disability used in this report differs from the definitions used in other surveys, and the Census Bureau notes that caution should be used in comparing across different data sources.
Member Geoff Davis resigns from the House of Representatives
Last week, Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY-4) announced his resignation from Congress effective immediately. To read the announcement visit his official site.
Rep. Davis served as Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources. This Subcommittee is of great importance to individuals with disabilities, as it holds jurisdiction over key provisions of the Social Security Act, including Supplemental Security Income, as well as other important social programs. The Arc thanks Congressman Davis for his years of service.