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On December 20, 2017, Congress gave final approval to H.R. 1. The tax bill was signed by the President’s on December 22nd.
Easterseals and our supporters were active throughout the debate to educate policymakers about the impact tax code changes would have on people with disabilities and their ability to access care and essential supports. Together, we were successful in removing several problematic provisions from the final legislation. However, the conference report did not fully address all of the concerns Easterseals raised in a letter (PDF*) to the conference committee.
Easterseals described our concerns with H.R. 1 in the following statement.:
Easterseals is disappointed that the conference report does not fully address our earlier concerns nor does it include assurances that access to Medicaid and other essential supports for people with disabilities will not be limited or cut due to the bill’s tax code changes or long-term costs. We are pleased the conference report maintains the tax credits that encourage the hiring of individuals with disabilities, improve business accessibility, and help families address high medical expense costs. However, Easterseals remains very concerned by the repeal of a key Affordable Care Act provision and the deduction changes that could reduce charitable giving that Easterseals uses to expand services for individuals with disabilities. Based on these harmful provisions and our earlier tax reform principles, Easterseals cannot support the conference report.
Congress has approved and the President has signed a third temporary funding measure to keep the federal government open through midnight on January 19, 2018. The measure also includes short-term funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Easterseals supports the call by several Republican and Democratic Members of Congress for a bipartisan budget deal that would raise the discretionary budget caps to provide Congress with more resources to fund programs and services important to Easterseals and individuals with disabilities.
While Congress has passed a special provision to its budget resolution to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for an additional six months, health coverage for millions of children enrolled in the Children's Health Insurance Program remains at-risk.
Congress must fully renew this critical program that provides immunizations, check-ups, and other care for children with and without disabilities whose families do not qualify for Medicaid.
Bipartisan talks between Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Patty Murray (D-Washington), and others continue following the cancelled vote on the Graham-Cassidy proposal. The bipartisan talks are focused on stabilizing the Affordable Care Act insurance markets by providing increased flexibility for states seeking waivers and approving cost-sharing reduction payments. The talks resumed following the September 26th decision to cancel the vote on the Graham-Cassidy proposal that Easterseals opposed for its cuts to Medicaid services for children and adults with disabilities. Thank you again to the great response from Easterseals affiliates and our on-line advocacy network! Your voices were heard loud and clear as a number of Senators came out against the newest Graham-Cassidy proposal because of its deep cuts to Medicaid.
The U.S. House may soon consider a bill (H.R. 620) that would significantly weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its protections for individuals with disabilities. H.R. 620 would make it harder for a person with a disability to access their rights under this 27 year old civil rights law.
The bipartisan Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibited the discrimination of individuals with disabilities all most aspects of American life. The ADA struck a careful balance between the civil rights of individuals with disabilities and the practical needs of businesses, requiring only those modifications that did not result in an undue burden to an existing business. The law took the prospective approach of requiring equal access to businesses that were opened after the ADA became law in 1990.
Twenty-seven years is enough time for a business to know its obligations under the ADA. Building codes and state licensing requirements have been shaped to help businesses know what to do. Unfortunately, H.R. 620 ignores the bipartisan compromise that has been working for the past 27 years. H.R. 620 creates new, unnecessary burdens for a person with a disability to meet before filing a complaint against a business who has yet to comply with the 1990 law.
The House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 620 on Thursday, September 7, 2017 and now awaits action in the U.S. House.
Don't let Congress mess with the ADA!
Many of our campers require the specialized supports that are only available at an Easterseals camp. Accessible grounds and facilities, adapted equipment and trained staff allow participants to accomplish what they may never have thought was possible - like swimming, traversing a river or playing wheelchair tennis. Other programs provide less ambitious - but no less significant - activities that teach everyday living skills, such as planning an outing to a movie or museum.
Easterseals has urged President Trump and Members of Congress to maintain the J-1 Camp Counselor program and the use of the Summer Work Travel program.
One of every seven Medicaid enrollees is a person with a disability, and now Congress is considering health care proposals that restrict access to critical Medicaid services.
Read more than 100 stories we've collected from parents of children with disabilities and from adults and seniors with disabilities in the Easterseals family who depend on Medicaid for their health, independence and well-being. Join more than 2,000 people who have already voiced their concern by signing our petition.
Each day, decisions are being made in Washington, D.C., that will affect people with disabilities and Easterseals' ability to provide services to them, as well as to meet Easterseals' mission today and for years to come. The unmet needs of people with disabilities will continue to go unaddressed if Easterseals 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. Sign up to receive Easterseals advocacy alerts.
Easterseals supports a rigorous debate on policies and strategies to grow the economy, improve our nation’s fiscal health, and strengthen and protect social programs for our country’s most vulnerable populations. Proposals related to the federal budget, tax reform, deficit reduction, and strategic investments may have a direct impact on the lives of children and adults with disabilities. Easterseals policy decisions on fiscal policy and tax reform will be based on Easterseals Principles on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform as approved by the Easterseals Board of Directors on October 20, 2017.
People with disabilities and Easterseals 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 Easterseals 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.
Easterseals 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.
Easter Seals Alabama actively supports people with disabilities and their families by appealing to Local and State Officials, Congress and federal agencies to create and support programs that help people with disabilities gain greater independence.
Legislatures IN the Know (LINK) was initiated in May of 2007 with the first Day on the Hill. Day on the Hill is an effort to build awareness of Easter Seals in the state legislature as well as an opportunity to develop a strategic state government relations plan. Long term, LINK will provide heightened awareness and increased understanding of the issues surrounding disabilities.
Easter Seals Alabama visited legislators on the Hill February 28, 2008, in a continued effort to educate them about services we provide. Presentations of artwork completed by children with Autism Spectrum Disorder were made to Governor Bob Riley, Lt. Governor Jim Folsom, Jr. and Representative Cam Ward. Administrators and staffers went door-to-door dropping off literature and speaking with senators, representatives and staffers.
The 2009 Day on the Hill is set for February 26, 2009.
For additional photos from Day on the Hill, download the 2008 Day on the Hill PDF.
Representative Cam Ward and Emily, mother of an autistic childOn March 20, 2007, State Representative Cam Ward and Lt. Governor Jim Folsom, Jr. announced the formation of the Alabama Autism Task Force. House Joint Resolution 23 was passed by the legislature on March 8 and signed into law by Governor Riley shortly afterwards. The task force is made up of state officials, educators, doctors, and members of the academic community to recommend ways to improve the treatment of autism in Alabama.
Easter Seals Alabama is an active member of Alabama's Autism Interagency Council which governs the Alabama Autism Task Force.
For more information about the Alabama Autism Task Force, visit www.camward.com/AutismTaskForce.htm.
U.S. Representative Joe Bonner visiting Goodwill Easter Seals In 2006, Easter Seals affiliates were challenged to create and steward relationships with their members of Congress. The goal was to have 100 members of Congress visit affiliate service sites to see first hand the critical role that Easter Seals has in assisting adults and children with disabilities live, learn, work and play in their communities. The visits connect the decisions Representatives and Senators make to the lives of children and adults with disabilities and their families.
Last year, the initiative mobilized Easter Seals Alabama's staff to reach out to federal legislators and create an emotional connection with them to Easter Seals' mission and services for individuals and families with autism and other disabilities and special needs. Each of the visits created an opportunity to emphasize the value and cost benefit to society of funding essential services that promote the health, productivity and independence of people with disabilities and special needs.
By October 2007, Easter Seals affiliates across the country had successfully reached and surpassed that goal. This year, a new resolution has been set to continue the program's successes by setting a goal of 150 additional visits.
Join Easter Seals today in educating and informing public officials about issues that affect individuals with disabilities. View Easter Seals Action Alerts and contact your legislators now!