The 43rd annual Disability Policy Seminar, held earlier this month, proved to be one of the largest ever with more than 900 people registered. The opening plenary celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Olmstead Supreme Court decision. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) gave a key note address to kick off the second day of training. The seminar included a packed two days of panels on issues affecting people with disabilities, concluding with the all-important Hill visits with Members of Congress. This annual event is co-sponsored by The Arc, the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Self Advocates Becoming Empowered, and United Cerebral Palsy. The co-sponsors were also joined by the Sibling Leadership Network, Autism Society of America, and National Down Syndrome Congress as promotional partners. Next year, the Disability Policy Seminar will take place on March 23-25 and the hope is to increase advocacy and set a new attendance record. Visit the event website to view presentations and materials from the 2019 seminar.
Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) will serve as Chair of the full committee and Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) will serve as Ranking Member. Additionally, the following will serve as Subcommittee Chairs and Ranking Members, respectively:
- Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education: Delegate Gregorio Sablan (D-NMI) and Representative Rick Allen (R-GA)
- Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions: Representatives Frederica Wilson (D-FL) and Tim Walberg (R-MI)
- Higher Education and Workforce Investment: Representatives Susan A. Davis (D-CA) and Lloyd Smucker (R-PA)
- Workforce Protections: Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC) and Bradley Byrne (R-AL)
- Civil Rights and Human Resources: Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and James Comer (R-KY)
A full list of members can be found on the committee website.
Registration is open for the for the 2019 Disability Policy Seminar, the premier event for cultivating champions on Capitol Hill and advancing the grassroots movement for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Join other passionate advocates and professionals from around the country to get up-to-date on the latest policy issues and legislation and to advocate for the programs that people with disabilities rely on to make a life in their communities possible. Register today!
Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced the following new members of the House Ways and Means Committee: Representatives Ron Estes (R-KS), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Drew Ferguson (R-GA). Additionally, he announced the following Representatives will serve as Ranking Members on subcommittees: Devin Nunes (R-CA), Health; Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Human Resources; Mike Kelly (R-PA), Oversight; Tom Reed (R-NY), Social Security; Adrian Smith (R-NE), Tax; and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Trade.
The Senate Finance Committee recently announced new members, including Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Todd Young (R-IN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV). Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) announced the following new Democratic Members of the House Ways and Means Committee: Gwen Moore (D-WI), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Steven Horsford (D-NV).
On January 3, the 116th Congress began, and most newly-elected members were formally sworn in. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. The new Congress includes 9 freshman Senators and 93 freshman Representatives.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) has announced chairs for the committee’s 12 subcommittees. Among the changes, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will now chair the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Subcommittee; Rep. David Price (D-NC) will chair the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Subcommittee; and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) will chair the Agriculture-Food and Drug Administration Subcommittee.
On November 27, House Democrats held their leadership elections. They elected Representatives Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as Majority Leader, James Clyburn (D-SC) as Majority Whip, Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) as Assistant Leader, and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) as Caucus Chair. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) won the caucus nomination for Speaker of the House by a vote of 203-32. The Speaker will be elected by the full House of Representatives on January 3, 2019. To be elected Speaker, one must receive a majority vote, which is 218 if all members vote.
On November 14, Senate Republicans and Democrats, and House Republicans held their leadership elections for the 116th Congress, which will begin in January 2019. Senate Republicans re-elected Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as Majority Leader and elected Senators John Thune (R-SD) and John Barasso (R-WY) as Majority Whip and Conference Chairman, respectively. Senate Democrats re-elected Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as Minority Leader, Duck Durbin (D-IL) as Minority Whip, and Patty Murray (D-WA) as Assistant Minority Leader. The House Republican Conference elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Minority Leader, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) as Minority Whip, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as Conference Chairwoman. House Democrats will hold leadership elections in December.
In the November 6 general mid-term elections, Democrats won at least 232 seats in the House of Representatives, securing a majority. Republicans won at least 198 seats and six races have not yet been called. Republicans will remain in the majority in the Senate with at least 52 seats, while Democrats will have at least 47. The Mississippi Senate result will be determined in a November 27 runoff election.
Julie Hocker became the new Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities (AoD) within the Administration on Community Living (ACL) on October 1. Ms. Hocker joins ACL from the Charles Koch Foundation, where she served as a senior manager since 2016. In that role, she led several key initiatives to improve the foundation’s operations, including development of an integrated technology and data solution for fundraising, grantmaking and expenditures; redesigning process to improve investment tracking and enable better analysis of effectiveness; and creation and implementation of risk-management processes. Read more here.