I am headed to the Capitol today for the first day of the Fall Veto Session. We will be
concentrating on talking to legislators about rebalancing and supporting Governor Quinn’s
Rebalancing Initiative. Look to our Facebook page for updates!

Tony

 

Capitol Insider header
for the Week of October 21, 2013
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Major Events Last Week

Budget & Appropriations – Agreement Enacted to End the Government Shutdown and
Extend the Debt Ceiling

On October 16, Congress reached a last minute agreement to end the 16-day government shutdown and
avoid defaulting on our debts. The measure, which passed by comfortable margins in both chambers, and
was signed shortly afterwards by President Obama, has five key provisions:

  1. reopening of the federal government through January 15 at sequestration levels (the approximately
    5% automatic, across-the-board spending cuts for discretionary programs);
  2. an extension of the debt limit until February 7 and a provision that requires a vote to disapprove
    extending the debt limit, as opposed to having votes to raise it;
  3. establishment of a House-Senate conference committee to agree on a budget plan by December 13;
  4. a requirement for income verification for recipients of subsidies under the Affordable Care Act’s newly-
    established health insurance marketplaces; and
  5. back pay for furloughed federal workers.

While the budget conference committee is a return to the regular way of doing business in the Congress, it does
mean that everything is on the table for consideration, including proposals that could be harmful to people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities. The conference committee is charged with finding common ground
between the FY 2014 House and Senate Budgets that were passed earlier this year. The FY 2014 House Budget
included cuts to entitlement programs, such as block granting Medicaid and dramatically cutting spending for the
program, and turning Medicare into a voucher program for new enrollees. In addition, the House Budget calls for
plans to be developed to improve the long term fiscal health of Social Security programs and further cuts to
discretionary programs (which include disability-related programs such as housing, education, and employment).
The FY 2014 Senate Budget also includes cuts to both Medicaid and Medicare, though much smaller ones than those
in the House Budget. Learn more about both budgets at:
http://insider.thearc.org/2013/03/25/house-and-senate-pass-fiscal-year-2014-budget-resolutions/

Learn more about the budget conference committee at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/10/17/five-things-to-know-about-the-ryan-murray-budget-conference-committee/

Announcements

Transportation – New Report Documents Inaccessibility at Amtrak Stations

The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) released a report demonstrating Amtrak’s negligence in following
the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The ADA gave Amtrak 20 years to reach compliance
with the law and 3 years past the deadline much remains to be done.  NDRN and other disability organizations visited
94 stations in 25 states and the District of Columbia, to find and document the evidence in the report.  The report
contains a full review of Amtrak’s non-compliance with the ADA, state-by-state findings of the reviews, and recommendations for Amtrak, Congress and the Administration. A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Third Paul Marchand Intern in Disability Public Policy Selected

Ms. Harmony Jovet will be interning in The Arc’s public policy office beginning in January, 2014. Ms. Jovet is a
recent graduate of Utah Valley University with a degree in Behavioral Science-Sociology and plans to begin
pursuing a doctorate in the near future. She has worked as a direct support professional in a group home for
men with developmental disabilities, as a Section 504 aid to a junior high school student with autism spectrum
disorder, and as a volunteer respite provider for children with disabilities. She is also the sibling of a young man
with intellectual and developmental disabilities. See Application information and Internship FAQs for more
information about the Paul Marchand internship program.


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