Nearly 1,000 disability advocates from across the country are in Washington, DC this week to advance our grassroots movement, meet with their Members of Congress, and educate them on the needs of people with disabilities. Advocates will be sharing their messages on civil rights and community living, education, federal funding, Medicaid and health care, and Social Security and SSI with their Members of Congress on April 25. Learn more at disabilitypolicyseminar.org.
Registration for the premier policy event of the year is officially open! Join other advocates and professionals from all over the country to get up-to-date on the latest policy issues and legislation. It is an excellent opportunity to advance our grassroots movement, meet with your Members of Congress, and educate them on the needs of people with disabilities. 2017 was a tumultuous year in Washington for disability rights. Congress repeatedly attempted to cut and cap Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act, but was met with resistance from the disability community at every turn. We won those battles together, thanks to your advocacy, energy, and persistence! But the fight isn’t over. We need you in Washington, DC to advocate for the programs that people with disabilities rely on to make a life in community possible. The Disability Policy Seminar is your chance to make an impact! Register today at disabilitypolicyseminar.org.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently announced new committee assignments for the second session of the 115th Congress. Senate Democrats gained a seat as a result of Alabama’s special election, bringing the partisan balance to 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats and Independents. As a result, Senate Democrats have additional seats on committees, giving them a one-vote margin on all committees except the Joint Economic Committee. Newly-elected Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) will serve on the Committees on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Banking); Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP); Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC); and Aging. Newly-appointed Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) will serve on the Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Energy and Natural Resources; HELP; and Indian Affairs. Other new assignments on key committees include Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on the Finance Committee, and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) on the Judiciary Committee.
Key Committees with new members that have jurisdiction over The Arc’s priority areas include Finance, HELP, and Judiciary. The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over tax laws, Social Security and SSI, Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and many other health and human services programs. The HELP Committee has jurisdiction over education policy, employment policy, medical research, public health, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, and parts of the ACA. The Judiciary committee has jurisdiction over civil rights laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Marty Ford, The Arc’s Senior Executive Officer for Public Policy, received the “Policy Award” from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) in honor of her advocacy for people with I/DD throughout her career. The award will be given at AAIDD’s convention in June. Learn more about AAIDD’s award recipients here.
The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2018 Public Policy Fellowship Program. Each year the Foundation brings professionals, family members, and persons experiencing disability to Washington, D.C. for a one-year, full-time, intensive immersion experience. Throughout their time in The District, fellows actively participate in public policy development in the offices of a Member of Congress, Congressional committee, or federal agency. This experience is a unique chance to understand the intersection of public policy, disability advocacy, and the political process. Please see the full announcement for more details. Applications will be accepted until December 15.
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 (ABLE) Act was awarded Public Policy Victory of the Year. In 2016, Patti Saylor received 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. This year’s categories include: community advocate of the year, local government advocate, state government advocate, federal government advocate, and public policy victory of the year (state or national). Know someone who deserves to be recognized?Nominate them today! Deadline: May 26, 2017.
Nominations are officially open for The Arc’s 2017 Catalyst Awards! The Catalyst Awards recognize individuals, businesses, and other organizations that are champions for achievement in the lives of people with I/DD. Each awardee illustrates what can be achieved and how we must move forward to create a fully inclusive society. Nomination categories range from education to employment, and include advocacy-both community and government! Know someone who deserves to be honored? Nominate them today! Deadline: Friday, May 26.
The Paul Marchand Internship Fund will provide $3,000 per semester or summer session to assist interns interested in pursuing careers in public policy advocacy for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD). For 38 years, Paul Marchand was a dedicated disability policy advocate and recognized leader working on behalf of people with I/DD and the larger disability community. Upon his retirement in 2011, The Arc, with substantial contributions from United Cerebral Palsy, other organizations, and individuals with whom Paul worked during his decades in Washington, D.C. established an internship to honor Paul and to continue to cultivate disability policy advocates. See more information here.