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Capitol Insider
for the Week of June 24, 2013
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Action Alert Pass the ABLE Act in the 113th Congress Disability Programs: Taxes Matter Major Events This Week Health Care – New Consumer Resources Available Regarding the Affordable Care Act Today, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched new efforts to educate and prepare Americans for open enrollment and purchasing private health insurance in the new Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplaces were created by the Affordable Care Act and will begin selling private health insurance in October 2013, with coverage beginning in January 2014. To educate people about the new coverage possibilities, HHS has refocused its www.healthcare.gov website and is opening a 24 hour consumer assistance call center. The website will continue to add new functions over the summer and by October people will be able to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for qualified plans.   The toll free number for the call center is 1-800-318-2596 and people with hearing impairments can call 1-855-889-4325 for assistance. Immigration – Senate Scheduled to Vote on Immigration Reform Legislation Today The Senate scheduled a vote for today on whether or not to end debate on an amendment to S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The amendment by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) includes a proposal developed by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Bob Corker (R-TN) calling for $30 billion to increase border security. It would double the number of armed officers on the southern border to roughly 40,000. It would also spend billions on equipment such as drones, helicopters, cameras, and infrared sensors. Increased border security has been a non-negotiable for Senate Republicans and it is hoped that the Hoeven-Corker deal will bring more Republican supporters to the immigration reform bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) indicated that a final vote on the bill will happen on Thursday before the July 4 recess. The amendment includes a provision sponsored by Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) that would bar immigrants on the path to citizenship from claiming Social Security credit for work performed between January 2004 and January 2014 while in undocumented status. Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a cost estimate of the immigration reform bill. CBO estimated that Immigration reform would offset any new spending through taxes paid by new and legalizing immigrants. CBO found that immigration reform would reduce the deficit by about $200 billion over the next 10 years and $700 billion over the second decade due to greater labor force participation. Finally, CBO predicted that immigration reform would create new jobs. Social Security – House to Hold Hearing on Role of Administrative Law Judges On June 27, the Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing titled “Oversight of Rising Social Security Disability Claims on the Role of Administrative Law Judges.” Visit the Committee web site to view the hearing announcement and to access testimony and video the day of the hearing. Long Term Services and Supports – The Long-Term Care Commission Scheduled to Hold First Meeting This Week The Long-Term Care Commission is scheduled to hold its first meeting on June 27, in Washington, DC. Details about location, agenda, and whether the meeting will be open or closed to the public are not known at this time. Major Events Last Week Education – House Committee Passes Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act The House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) along party lines by a vote of 23 – 16. The Arc opposes this bill because it would exclude many students with disabilities from state accountability systems. The bill is quite different from S. 1094, the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013, the ESEA reauthorization bill passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Reconciling the differences seems unlikely. Social Security – House Holds Hearing on Encouraging Work Through the Social Security Disability Insurance Program Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on encouraging work through the Social Security Disability Insurance program. The hearing examined current efforts by the Social Security Administration to return individuals to work as well as other options to enhance work opportunities for current and future beneficiaries. To review testimony as well as archived video, visit the Subcommittee website. Employment – Senate Holds Full Committee Hearing on Reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act Last week, the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions held a full committee hearing on “Developing a Skilled Workforce for a Competitive Economy: Reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act.” The hearing covered reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act as well as the Rehabilitation Act which authorizes vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, and other vital employment services for people with disabilities. To review testimony as well as archived video, visit the committee website. Housing – Eleanor Smith Inclusive Home Design Act Reintroduced in House Rep. Jan L Schakowsky (D-IL) reintroduced the Eleanor Smith Inclusive Home Design Act (H.R. 2352). The bill seeks to require new homes built with federal funds to meet certain accessibility standards – namely, a zero step entrance, at least one wheelchair accessible entrance, and wheelchair accessible doorways. In the 113th Congress the bill has been named after Eleanor Smith, the founder of Concrete Change, an international network that seeks to make all new homes “visitable,” or constructed with basic accessibility features to make it easier for people with mobility impairments to live in and visit the home. The bill was referred to the Committee on Financial Services. The Arc strongly supports this legislation. Announcements Last Chance for Early Registration Discounts to National Convention Register now for The Arc’s upcoming National Convention and take advantage of early registration discounts ending soon! You can still get special room rates at the Hyatt Regency when you book by July 2 and early registration discounts are available through July 5. Also, there are special rates for members of The Arc and self-advocates. This year’s event boasts speakers from technology giants Verizon and Microsoft, a keynote presentation from acclaimed author and parent of a son with I/DD, Buzz Bissinger; pre-conferences dedicated to leadership and self-advocacy and sessions on technology, family support, innovation from our chapters, and building the grassroots network. Get the full schedule and register now to save! Emergency Management – New Guide for Developing School Emergency Operations Plans Six Federal agencies released a Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans. The guide includes steps local schools, local governments, and communities can take to plan for emergencies and develop Emergency Operations Plans. Seeking Respondents for Transitions Survey The University of South Carolina (USC) School of Medicine is looking for 15-24 year-olds who have Spina Bifida, Muscular Dystrophy, or Fragile X Syndrome who are willing to tell about their school, work, family, and community life in an online survey. This effort is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). USC plans to use this information to provide concrete recommendations to policy makers who can effect change in the provision of essential services needed by adolescents as they transition into adulthood. The survey deadline is June 30. Please complete the survey at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/hwbssnational

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