for the week of May 29, 2018
Did Your Representatives Vote to Protect SNAP?
Major Recent Events
Budget & Appropriations – Appropriations Committees Approve FY 2019 Spending Allocations
On May 23, the House Appropriations Committee adopted allocations for its 12 subcommittees for fiscal year (FY) 2019 that starts on October 1. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS-ED) subcommittee – which funds the majority of disability related programs – received no increase from FY 2018. The following day, the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted allocations for its subcommittees. The L-HHS-ED bill will get a $2.2 billion (1.2%) increase. The difference in allocations for the 12 subcommittees between the House and Senate make it more challenging for Congress to negotiate a final spending package though the regular process and increases the chances of using a continuing resolution to keep the government funded.
Education – DeVos Testifies before House Committee
On May 22, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testified for the first time before the House Education and Workforce Committee. The hearing, entitled “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education” covered a range of issues, including for profit colleges, student loan programs, state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act, apprenticeships, funding for the Office for Civil Rights, school discipline, and the reporting of suspected undocumented students to authorities. View the archived webcast here.
Health – CBO Releases New Affordable Care Act Premium Estimates
On May 23, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report titled “Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for People under Age 65: 2018-2028.” The report projects premiums for nongroup marketplace plans to increase by an average of 15 percent. The repeal of the individual mandate to have health insurance that was included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is a major contributor to the projected increase. The exit of people with lower health care costs from health insurance markets leads to higher premiums for those who remain. Additionally, enactment of a proposed rule expanding the use of time limited plans could lead to further exits and higher premiums.
Transportation – DOT Announces Changes in Services Animal Enforcement Priorities and Regulations
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has released an Interim Statement of Enforcement Office Priorities and Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding regulations of service animals under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). DOT will now prioritize enforcement cases involving dogs, cats, and miniature horses over cases involving other animals. Additional priorities include the general prohibition on advance notice; a requirement that identification cards, other written documentation, presence of a harness, tags, or the credible verbal assurance of a passenger be accepted as proof of that an animal is a service animal; and the prohibition on requiring passengers with service animal to check-in at the counter.
DOT is seeking public comment to help ensure that individuals with disabilities can continue using their service animals while also helping to ensure that the fraudulent use of other animals not qualified as service animals is deterred and animals that are not trained to behave properly in public are not accepted for transport as service animals. The ANPRM contains ten questions covering topics such as psychiatric service and emotional support animals, the number of animals allowed per passenger, leash and harness requirements, and allowable documentation requirements. Public comment on the ANPRM is due by June 9. Click here to comment.
Nominate Your Policy Catalyst Today!
We want to hear from you about the change-makers in the policy arena! The Arc’s Catalyst Awards were created to recognize individuals, businesses, and other organizations that are catalysts for achievement in the lives of people with I/DD. Will you help us recognize the next advocacy powerhouse? In 2015 during the inaugural awards, the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (or ABLE) was awarded Public Policy Victory of the Year. In 2016, Patti Saylor won Community Advocate of the Year for her tireless and fearless advocacy at both state and federal levels of government after the death of her son, Ethan. In 2017, officials from both New York and Indiana wonPublic Policy Victory of the Year for their work increasing salaries for direct support professionals (DSPs).
This year’s categories include: Self-Advocate of the Year, Community Advocate of the Year, Local Government Advocate of the Year, State Government Advocate of the Year, Federal Government Advocate of the Year, Public Policy Victory of the Year (State or National), and Legal Advocate of the Year. Know someone who deserves to be recognized? Nominate them today! Deadline: June 8, 2018.
Due to the Memorial Day Congressional recess, the Capitol Insider will not be published the week of June 4, 2018.