From May 30-June 5, housing advocates across the country are hosting a National Housing Week of Action to promote affordable housing and educate policymakers. Advocates are encouraged to join the National Tweetstorm on Tuesday, June 4 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EDT to highlight need for more decent, safe, affordable, and accessible housing.
Correction: Original version incorrectly stated that June 4 was a Thursday.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has created a national online dialogue on the use of subminimum wages under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. DOL is specifically seeking comments from people with disabilities, their families, providers, disability organizations, employers, researchers, and other stakeholders. The Arc supports building infrastructure and supports to increase opportunities for competitive integrated employment. Comments can be submitted here by June 14.
On May 22, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower (RISE) Act (S.1585). This bill would require institutions of higher education to accept a student’s individualized education plan (IEP), 504 plan, or prior evaluation as sufficient proof of disability. Additionally, it requires institutions to provide transparent information regarding the process of determining eligibility for disability services and to disseminate the information in an accessible format. It also requires institutions to report information on the number of students with disabilities served, their outcomes, and the accommodations provided. The Arc supports this legislation.
On May 10, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a rule that would prohibit “mixed status” immigrant families from living in public housing and Section 8 units. “Mixed status” families are families in which some members are ineligible for housing assistance based on immigration status. The rule would result in family separations and could lead to evictions of thousands of people, including children, who face an increased risk of homelessness. The Arc is working with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) to submit comments on the proposed rule by the July 9 deadline. For more information, see www.keep-families-together.org.
On May 24, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an advance copy of a proposed rule to weaken its regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in health programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. The proposed rule would narrow protections for all people experiencing discrimination under the law, eliminate protections for LGBTQ people, and roll back protections for people with limited English proficiency, among other impacts. The Arc is reviewing the proposed rule and will provide further analysis.
On May 20, the House passed the Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (H.R.2480). This bill reauthorizes the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which provides federal funding to states to address child abuse and neglect. This bill increases investments to address child maltreatment resulting from the opioid epidemic. Learn more about the legislation here.
On May 16, the House of Representatives passed H.R.987, which reverses administrative actions weakening the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It rescinds the Department of Health and Human Services regulation expanding the use of short-term limited-duration insurance (STLDI). STLDI plans are not required to cover people pre-existing conditions, and can charge higher premiums based on age, gender, or health status. Additionally, it restores funding for consumer outreach and education programs and the Navigator Program, which were cut by the Administration.
On May 21, the House Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing titled “Housing in America: Oversight of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.” Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Dr. Ben Carson will testify. As stated in the Committee’s announcement, the hearing will examine “the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s current state of affairs and address major changes to agency policies and programs since 2017.” Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video on the day of the hearing.
May 17, 2019 marked the 65th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court Case that held public school segregation based on race was unconstitutional. In light of this anniversary, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a blog post discussing three recent reports on disparities that still exist in education. The first report noted the rise in the percentage of schools where 75% or more of the students were black or Hispanic and eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The second report discusses the disproportionate use of discipline against black students, boys, and students with disabilities. The third report discusses the limited course offerings at high-poverty schools.
On May 8, the House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS-ED) bill. The bill provides $189.9 billion in funding, a 7% increase over FY 2019. Most of The Arc’s priority programs received increases. Particularly notable increases include the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B State Grants (8.1%), Lifespan Respite Care Program (33.8%), State Grants to Remove Barriers to Voting (28.7%), and Rehabilitation Services Administration Demonstration and Training Programs (26.5%). Funding levels for The Arc’s priority programs can be found here. Senate Appropriators, meanwhile, have declined to move forward with spending bills until a deal is reached to increase the spending caps for discretionary programs. Absent a deal, the spending cap for all non-defense discretionary programs would be reduced by 9% for FY 2020.