President Obama and senior advisors hosted a meeting with a small group of disability leaders to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the ADA. They discussed the critical efforts that federal agencies are leading to protect the rights of, and participation by, people with disabilities in our communities. The President also formally announced the appointment of his new disability policy advisor, Taryn Mackenzie Williams. Taryn joins the Office of Public Engagement from the U.S. Department of Labor, where she served as a Senior Policy Advisor with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Watch the President’s video message and read his 24th ADA anniversary proclamation at whitehouse.gov.
Last Friday, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Carolyn W. Colvin as Commissioner of Social Security. Ms. Colvin is currently Deputy Commissioner of Social Security and has served as the Acting Commissioner of Social Security since February 2013, after the term for former Commissioner Michael J. Astrue expired on January 19, 2013. The Commissioner of Social Security serves a six-year term that begins immediately upon the expiration of the prior Commissioner’s term. By law, a Commissioner appointed after the 6 year term starts serves only for the remainder of the term; if confirmed by Congress, Ms. Colvin’s term would expire January 19, 2019.
Last week, 150 leaders of The Arc from across the country met with a variety of senior White House officials at a Community Leaders Briefing to ask questions and discuss issues facing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The session, held just for The Arc, included an unannounced visit from President Barack Obama. The President spoke of his commitment to people with disabilities saying, “I’ve got your back.” To watch President Obama’s remarks visit the White House YouTube page.
Another unannounced speaker was White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, who reiterated the President’s opposition to turning Medicaid into a block grant.
The day was organized by Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, who kicked off the agenda by welcoming guests and speaking about employment issues. The Arc heard from Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, who spoke of their commitment to providing services and supports to all in need. Other speakers included Carol Galante, Acting Assistant Secretary – Federal Housing Administration Commissioner, Department of Housing and Urban Development; Cindy Mann, Deputy Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Robert Gordon, Executive Associate Director, Office of Management and Budget; and Tom Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Department of Justice.
This April, there will be additional opportunities to engage with disability policy experts in Washington, DC during the 2012 Disability Policy Seminar. Come together with other advocates, learn about the issues, and speak with your elected officials about what is important to you. Take advantage of special early registration and hotel rates available until March 20.