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Congress is debating legislation that will help create new options of public transportation for people with disabilities. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public transportation like public buses to be accessible, there are still many types of transportation that are not. For example, many subway stations that were constructed before the ADA are still only accessible by stairs, leaving them unusable by people who use wheelchairs.
On Thursday, March 26, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (HR 2). The U.S. Senate has adjourned for a two-week recess and will consider the legislation upon return in mid-April.
Congress is updating the federal elementary and secondary education law for the first time since 2002. Senate leaders are trying to negotiate a bipartisan bill. Two of the most important provisions for students with disabilities are on the table:
Senators Chris Murphy (Conn.) and Bob Casey (Penn.) have introduced legislation that Easter Seals supports. Senator Chris Murphy's bill – Every Child Counts Act – ensures that only students with the most significant cognitive disabilities have their academic progress measured based on a different standard than their non-disabled peers. Senator Bob Casey's bill – Empowering Parents & Students Through Information Act – ensures that parents are fully informed about the standard to which their child's academic performance will be measured.
We need your voice to show the U.S. Senate there is broad support for these bills and the education of children with disabilities.
Each day, decisions are being made in Washington, D.C., that will affect people with disabilities and Easter Seals' ability to provide services to them, as well as to meet Easter Seals' mission today and for years to come. The unmet needs of people with disabilities will continue to go unaddressed if Easter Seals is not engaged in educating public policy makers about people with disabilities' disproportionate reliance on government for health, education, employment, transportation and other needed services.
Easter Seals has been active in public policy advocacy since our founder, Edgar Allen, lobbied the Ohio Legislature to fund appropriate services for children with disabilities in the 1920s. We continue to actively support and promote federal legislation that helps people with disabilities achieve independence.
People with disabilities and Easter Seals have a significant stake in government programs. For many children and adults with disabilities, their ability to get an education, earn a living and live independently in the community is dictated by the availability of services and supports, many of which come only from the federal government.
This chart, developed by Easter Seals Office of Public Affairs, tracks the funding history of federal disability programs. The chart divides the information by agency, listing underneath each agency specific programs that matter to children and adults with disabilities.