On Wednesday, February 11th, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on “The Coming Crisis: Social Security Disability Trust Fund Insolvency”. Social Security Disability Insurance was created in 1956 to provide financial assistance to people who are unable to work due to disability or health issues. Witnesses at the hearing will include: Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Social Security Administration; Dr. Mark Duggan, Wayne and Jodi Cooperman Professor of Economics, Stanford University; Dr. Philip de Jong, Professor of Economics, University of Amsterdam – Amsterdam School of Economics; and Kate Lang, Staff Attorney, National Senior Citizens Law Center. Visit the Committee website to learn more and to view live video on the day of the hearing.
On Wednesday, January 21, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability.” The hearing is expected to address the relevant provisions from the discussion draft of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization released by the Committee Chairman last week. For more information, see the HELP committee website.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on “Social Security: Is a Key Foundation of Economic Security Working for Women?” Witnesses were: Barbara Perrin of Eugene, OR; Catherine J. Dodd, Ph.D, RN, Chair of the Board of Directors, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; Sita Nataraj Slavov, Ph.D, Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University, and Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; and Janet M. Barr, MAAA, ASA, EA, American Academy of Actuaries. Visit the Committee web site to view opening statements, testimony, and archived video.
Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health, Chaired by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), held a hearing on “Setting Fiscal Priorities” to hear testimony related to key policy decisions the Committee may face in the 114th Congress related to health care spending by Medicaid and Medicare. Visit the Committee’s web site to view testimony and archived video of the hearing.
Last week the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held a hearing on “The State of Civil and Human Rights in the United States.” In his opening statement, departing Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) played a video homage to individuals who had been killed during police interaction, including Ethan Saylor, the 26 year old man with Down syndrome who died during an altercation in a Maryland movie theater. This was Sen. Durbin’s last hearing as Subcommittee Chair as he will be handing over the gavel to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for the 114th Congress. Visit the Committee’s web site to view testimony and archived video of the hearing.
On Tuesday Dec 2nd, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on “The Future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program” (CHIP). CHIP provides affordable health coverage for millions of children across the United States, including many children with disabilities. The program originally began in 1997 and was reauthorized in 2009 to expand eligibility and provide states with additional tools to successfully meet the needs of uninsured children. Visit the Committee’s web site to learn more and to view live video on the day of the hearing.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on “Social Security: A Fresh Look at Workers’ Disability Insurance.” Witnesses included Stephen Goss, Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration; Marianna LaCanfora, Acting Deputy Commissioner, Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration; Rebecca Vallas, Associate Director, Poverty to Prosperity Program, Center for American Progress Action Fund; and Dr. Richard Burkhauser, Professor, Adjunct Scholar, Cornell University, American Enterprise Institute. Visit the Committee website for written testimony and video of the hearing.
On Thursday July 31, the Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing on the nomination of The Honorable Carolyn W. Colvin to be Commissioner of Social Security. Visit the Committee web site for more information and live video the day of the hearing.
Last week, the Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight held a hearing, “Saving for an Uncertain Future: How the ABLE Act can Help People with Disabilities and their Families” on the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE Act) . The ABLE Act would create tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities that would not count toward the $2,000 individual asset limits that apply to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid programs.
Reflecting on the need for an update in current tax-code policies, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA),whose son Cole has Down syndrome, offered this statement as a part of her testimony,”Our outdated laws encourage women and men with disabilities to resign themselves to a life of dependence by spending down their assets rather than saving them for future expenses.”
Other witnesses included Mr. Robert D’Amelio, volunteer advocate for the North Carolina chapter of Autism Speaks; Chase Alston Phillips, a financial advisor from northern Virginia; and Sara Wolf, self-advocate with Down Syndrome and board member of the National Down Syndrome Society.
Introduced in February 2013, the Senate version, S. 213, sponsored by Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), has 74 co-sponsors; the House version, HR.647, sponsored by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), has 371 co-sponsors. Visit the Committee website to view video of the hearing and written testimony.
Last Wednesday, the Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on “Reduction in Face-to-Face Services at the Social Security Administration.” Witnesses were Tammy DeLong, Aroostook Area Agency on Aging, Presque Isle, ME; Nancy A. Berryhill, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration; Scott Hale, President, National Council of Social Security Management Associations; Brenda Holt, Commissioner, Gadsden County, FL. Visit the Committee website to view archived videos of the hearing, opening statements by Chairman Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME), and written testimony. Additionally, a Committee staff memo summarizes the Committee’s investigation into face-to-face service reductions in advance of the hearing.