To learn more about the specific measures and bills outlined here, visit The Library of Congress' Thomas Online.
Partners in Making Your Case is a free, self-paced online course that will give you tips on how to communicate your needs with your lawmakers.
In the wake of President Obama's and Vice-President Biden's commitment to do something to curb gun violence, gun rights backers have asked that mental health issues must be considered. To respond comprehensively to their request, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will meet with mental health and disability advocates this month. The White House would like to propose legislation just after President Obama is sworn in to his next term. For this information, see the Associated Press Yahoo news article White House ramping up gun violence discussions By JULIE PACE, January 8, 2013
The following article was sent by DAWN (Disability Advocates Wisconsin Network) The Congress and the President are negotiating over more than only taxes. If they cannot reach a decision by the beginning of January and if they add cuts to entitlement programs, besides the tax increases and federal spending cuts, there will be drastic cuts to discretionary programs that affect people with disabilities. If you are served by any of the programs relying on a fixed federal funding including those for people with disabilities mentioned below or are concerned about cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, please contact President Obama on his website or contact your Congressional Representative through their website. The House members can inform Speaker Boehner of their constituents’ opinions.
People with disabilities will be impacted in a variety of ways if Congress and the President do not reach agreement to change current law by the end of the year. A combination of federal spending cuts and tax increases will go into effect at the end of 2012 and beginning of January 2013 if no action is taken.If President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner cannot reach agreement, some taxes will increase, tax credits will expire, and federal unemployment benefits will end. While these actions are concerning, advocates are focused on drastic cuts to discretionary programs like general and special education, employment supports, and housing programs that people with disabilities rely on. Each program would be cut about 8 percent. Unlike entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, discretionary programs get a fixed sum of funding. If funds are cut, Wisconsin will receive less federal aid to support a wide range of programs, such as vocational rehabilitation. Services that assist all citizens will also be cut. Public safety and law enforcement, medical and scientific research, public health; and environmental protection are only a few examples of the services that will be cut is current law is not changed. The details about the bill to avoid the fiscal cliff are constantly changing. Some entitlement reforms are now under discussion. Congress and the President need to hear from constituents whether programs that serve people with disabilities, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and many of the discretionary programs need to remain strong without changes.
According to the U.N. about 126 countries have ratified the Disabilities Rights convention and it is backed by the Obama administration and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, however the Senate has yet to ratify it. There are Senators opposing the treaty, so amendments are being worked on. Ratifying the treaty will cause no change to U.S. law and it would allow the U.S. to take a leadership position on disability rights throughout the world and ensure Americans with disabilities the same protections they have here in the U.S. when they travel abroad.
For more information, visit the news article at Disability Scoop: Fate Of Disability Treaty Unclear In Senate
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