House to Vote on FY 2021 Spending Package

The House plans to take up a $1.37 trillion spending package for fiscal year (FY) 2021 that begins on October 1. This package (H.R. 7617) combines seven of the 12 annual spending bills: Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy-Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-HUD. The measure is expected to pass the House along party lines, but not to be taken up by the Senate. Instead, one or more continuing resolutions are expected to continue funding the federal government after the start of FY 21.

House to Vote on Affordable Child Care Bills

The House plans to take up two bills to make child care more available and affordable during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Child Care Is Essential Act (H.R. 7027), sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), would provide $50 billion in child care block grants to states to help subsidize care for low-income families. The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 7327), sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), would provide $10 billion in grants to renovate child care facilities; $850 million to help care for children of “essential” workers; and an estimated $77 billion over a decade for child care funding administered by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The package would also provide about $91 billion over a decade in tax benefits, mostly for expanded child and dependent care credits. The Arc supports both bills.

House Committee to Hold Hearing on “Experiences of Vulnerable Populations During Disaster”

On July 28, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management will hold a hearing titled “Experiences of Vulnerable Populations During Disaster.” Witnesses will be Curtis Brown, State Coordinator of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, testifying on behalf of the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management; Chad Higdon, CEO, Second Harvest Community Food Bank; Marcie Roth, Executive Director and CEO, World Institute on Disability; and Diane Yentel, President and CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition. Visit the Committee website for more information or to view live video on the day of the hearing.

School Voucher Bill Introduced in Senate

On July 22, Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the School Choice Now Act (S. 4282). This bill would provide a federal tax credit for donations to organizations that provide scholarships for private schools. Additionally, the bill creates a one-time appropriation to scholarship-granting organizations. The Arc opposes this bill because schools accepting scholarships indirectly supported by the tax credit will not be required to follow the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or the accountability provisions under the Every Student Succeeds Act. See The Arc’s position statement on education, including school vouchers.

The Arc Celebrates 30th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act

July 26 marked the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The Arc is proud of our role in protecting the rights of people with disabilities, including as a significant player in the passage of the ADA. Consistent with our work for decades on policy development and legal efforts on key issues including deinstitutionalization, transforming state service systems, and ensuring that people with I/DD have access to education and life in the community, The Arc was committed to advancing the bill creating a national mandate for the elimination of discrimination on the basis of disability. From educating Congress and the public on the discrimination faced by people with disabilities and their families, helping to organize the grassroots, and supporting Congressional hearings and promotion on the Hill, The Arc was actively engaged in the fight for the ADA. State and local chapters of The Arc were integral to the movement. Through the tenacious advocacy of The Arc with our allies across the disability community, the bill passed with broad bipartisan support.

Read The Arc’s statements:

House Committee Holds Hearing on the Impact of COVID-19 on Social Security and Its Beneficiaries

On July 17, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security, held a hearing titled “The Impact of COVID-19 on Social Security and Its Beneficiaries.” Witnesses were Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration; Max Richtman, President and CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable; Mattie Duppler, Senior Fellow for Fiscal Policy, National Taxpayers Union, Abigail Zapote, Executive Director, Latinos for a Secure Retirement; Shaun Castle, Deputy Executive Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America; Robert Roach, Jr., President, Alliance for Retired Americans. Visit the Committee website for more information or to view archived video of the hearing.

SSA to Resume Suspended Workload

On July 16, Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Andrew Saul announced that SSA is hoping to resume its suspended workloads in August, including overpayments. The agency resumed continuing disability reviews in late June. See SSA’s coronavirus page for updates regarding suspended workloads. The Arc and allies wrote to Congress urging legislative action to pause workloads until the pandemic is over.

CMS Extends Deadline for HCBS Settings Rule

On July 14, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in a letter to state Medicaid Directors that the deadline for compliance with the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Settings Rule will be extended until March 17, 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous deadline was March 17, 2022. The HCBS Settings Rules requires all settings funded by Medicaid HCBS programs to, among other things, provide opportunities for participants to be integrated in and engage in community life, have access to the community, control their personal resources, and seek employment and work in competitive settings.

Senators to Hold Events in Recognition of ADA 30th Anniversary

This week, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) will hold two events in recognition of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Details are as follows:

Honoring the Fight: 30 Years of the ADA: July 22, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. ET

  • The panelists will reflect on the last 30 years of the ADA and the goals that were and still are present for the disability community. Panelists include:
    • Senator Tom Harkin, (D-IA) 40 year member of Congress and Senate author of the ADA
    • Governor Tom Ridge, (R-PA) Current Chair of the National Organization on Disability, former Governor of Pennsylvania, and First Secretary of Homeland Security
    • Claudia Gordon, Disability Rights Attorney and Advocate, Former Obama Administration Appointee
    • Elena Hung, Executive Director and Co-founder, Little Lobbyists
    • Rebecca Cokley, Director, Disability Justice Initiative, Center for American Progress
    • Maria Town, Moderator, President and CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities

Continuing the Fight: Ensuring the ADA Works for Everyone: July 24, 1:00 -2:00 p.m. ET

  • The next 30 years and beyond of the ADA will shine a spotlight on intersectional identities as we hear from panelists about what’s next for the disability community. Panelists include:
    • Jeiri Flores, Advocacy Discipline Coordinator, University of Rochester LEND
    • Conchita Hernandez Legorreta, Maryland Statewide Blind and Low Vision Specialist
    • Catherine Lhamon, Moderator, Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

CART and American Sign Language will be provided.

CCD to Hold Briefing Recognizing 30th Anniversary of ADA

On July 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) will hold a briefing titled “The ADA at 30: A Vision for a Future With Full Inclusion and Equity.” Heather Ansley, Chair of CCD will provide opening remarks. Liz Weintraub, Senior Advocacy Specialist at Association of University Centers on Disabilities will serve as moderator. Panelists include:

  • Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights
  • Germán Parodi, Co-Executive Director, Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
  • Maria Town, CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Monique Dixon, Deputy Director of Policy and Director of State Advocacy, NAACP Legal Defense Fund

The briefing focuses on the intersection of disability and racial equity and the aim of ensuring that the ADA’s goals of full participation, equal opportunity, independent living and economic self-sufficiency can become a reality for all people with disabilities, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Presented in collaboration with Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Don Young (R-AK), co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Disabilities caucus; Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Majority Leader; Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA); Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging; Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL); and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment.