for the Week of October 15, 2012
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Major Events Last Week
Budget – Gang of Eight concludes retreat to develop bipartisan deficit reduction plan
Last week, the bipartisan group of Senators known as the “Gang of Eight” concluded their three day retreat. The group first came together in the summer of 2011 to try to develop a plan to solve the debt ceiling crisis but failed to reach an agreement in the end (see the Draft Plan from July 2011). Since then, they have added two new members – Senators Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Michael Bennett (D-CO). The future of any final plan they develop hinges largely on the results of the election. If either party takes control over the Presidency and the House and attains 60 votes in the Senate, it could greatly bolster its position on revenue, which has by far been the biggest obstacle to reaching a deal. If, however, we continue to have a divided government, it will be difficult to find consensus on a deficit reduction agreement. The members of the Gang of Eight are:

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO)
Sen. Mike Coburn (R-OK) Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID) Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Mike Johanns *(R-NE) Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)

Congressional Schedule – Congress on recess
Congress will remain out of session leading up to the November 6th election. Congress is expected to reconvene after the election to consider several issues relating to the budget, including the expiring tax breaks and the automatic across the board spending cuts.
Capitol Insider Schedule – Last edition this month
Capitol Insider will not be sent out for the next two weeks. This is due to The Arc’s National Convention and International Forum that is taking place from October 25-28, in Washington, DC. The next edition of Capitol Insider will be sent out on Monday, November 5th.
Employment-New Toolkit on Workplace Flexibility
The Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Women’s Bureau have launched an online Workplace Flexibility Toolkit. The toolkit provides information and resources to employees, job seekers, employers, policymakers and researchers.
Elections—Resources to Learn More about the Presidential Candidates
The transcription and webcast are available from the National Forum on Disability Issues which was held September 28th.   The forum was an opportunity for the disability community to learn more about the positions on disability issue held by the two Presidential candidates. Visit the website to view these informative videos. For more resources on the election visit our blog. Many issues facing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are being debated at the local, state and federal level. It is critical that members of the disability community educate themselves about the issues and vote on November 6th.

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