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February 2012



Calling All Advocates - Are Your Congressional Leaders on the ABLE Act?


Advocacy efforts to garner support for the ABLE Act (H.R. 3423/S. 1872) have been underway to successfully complete a challenge Congressional champions have made to the disability community: secure at least 200 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and 20 Senators in the U.S. Senate by April 1. This goal reflects similar numbers of cosponsors garnered in the 111th Congress, and will provide the support necessary for Congressional champions to begin negotiations with House & Senate leadership about moving the legislation forward in 2012. The advocacy community has made great strides thus far, already securing 9 Senate cosponsors and 88 Members of Congress as cosponsors. While this is phenomenal progress, ensuring further support requires the active participation and outreach of each and every national organization who has endorsed the legislation (see group letter from over forty national organizations and several state and local entities from December 2011).


NDI is calling on all organizations and advocates to help get more Congressional leaders on board in support of the ABLE Act as soon as possible. NDI has drafted an action alert, which includes suggested talking points and instructions for advocates that can be tailored and disseminated to the field. We ask that all individuals and organizations reach out to their Congressional leaders as soon as possible with a simple message: "Cosponsor the ABLE Act and Support its Passage in 2012!"


To increase awareness about the ABLE Act among Congressional leaders and staff, Congressional champions of the legislation and disability policy organizations are hosting an educational briefing on Thursday, February 16th from 12:00 noon -1:30 p.m. ET in Room B-339 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Representatives Ander Crenshaw, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers and Chris Van Hollen will be making remarks at the briefing. To RSVP, please email Jennifer Debes at Jennifer.Debes@mail.house.gov 


House Education & Workforce Committee Plans for Future Consideration of Workforce Investment Proposals...


As reported in last month's issue of the NDI Washington Insider, Republican members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have introduced three bills in recent months aimed at consolidating and streamlining the nation's workforce investment system, including:  Workforce Investment Improvement Act (H.R. 2295), the Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act (H.R. 3610), and the Local Job Opportunities and Business Success Act (or Local JOBS Act, H.R. 3611 ). It is anticipated that the Committee will schedule a mark-up of the Republican proposals in mid-March. House E&W Committee Ranking Member George Miller is working on a Democratic alternative WIA reauthorization package that will be introduced in early March, which will likely resemble a pared down version of the Senate draft WIA reauthorization package introduced last summer.

...while Senate HELP Committee Focuses on Development of Smaller Transition Legislative Package


Meanwhile, Senate floor consideration of WIA reauthorization in 2012 is highly unlikely, but the Senate HELP Committee leadership is working on a legislative package of specific provisions from their draft WIA reauthorization bill of last year that is focused on improving transition supports and outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities. NDI recently joined other national partners of the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD) in sending a letter to the Senate HELP Committee outlining recommendations and specific proposals for the Senate transition legislation. Among its suggestions, the CPSD also recommended that the Senate HELP Committee leadership consider introducing the Transition towards Excellence, Achievement and Mobility legislation already introduced in the House of Representations in February of 2011. The TEAM legislation is comprised of three separate bills (including the TEAM-Education Act, H.R. 602; the TEAM-Empowerment Act, H.R. 603; and the TEAM-Employment Act, H.R. 604), and attempts to promote a cohesive model for streamlining federal investments and programs focused on transition outcomes of youth with significant disabilities into adulthood.

The Grassley Proposal: Outlining a New Vision for Ensuring Long-Term Supports and Services for People with Significant Disabilities


In an editorial published in The Hill on February 8th, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) outlined major structural problems with Medicaid, and suggested a new conceptual framework for the provision of long term supports to people with disabilities in the future.


Grassley's vision encompasses a growing frustration that individuals with disabilities, their families and practitioners of personalized supports have with constrained Medicaid supports that are too often entrenched in archaic models that convey an institutional bias and lack of individual choice. Growing trends in state Medicaid programs transitioning into managed care models are increasing the anxiety of the disability community that personalized supports geared toward optimizing and individual's opportunities to live and work in the community are going to disappear.


As Senator Grassley notes, one of the greatest challenges faced by state Medicaid programs is the unrealistic expectations of the program to meet the needs of so many diverse subpopulations. As Grassley notes: "What is clear is that the Medicaid program spends a lot because it does a lot," and expresses concerns about the rationale for pooling so many distinct populations under one umbrella of health care and long-term supports and services. Grassley calls for a structural overhaul of Medicaid, and emphasizes that, "The Medicaid program needs the same level of creative energy devoted to structurally re-creating he program that is currently being devoted to the Medicare program." Grassley's leadership in this area is a promising light in what has been overall a very dark road of budget cuts and complex regulations that have greatly limited progress in improving the socioeconomic outcomes of individuals with disabilities who have to rely on Medicaid for so many different long term supports.


While entitlement reform is unlikely to be considered until the 112th Congress, Senator Grassley's vision may serve as a critical platform for framing the discussion on a new entitlement and model for structuring long term supports for citizens with disabilities in the future.




President's 2013 Budget Released - Conference Call this Wednesday, February 15th regarding Budgetary Impacts on Citizens with Disabilities 


The President's 2013 budget was released on 13 February 2012, and early analysis shows a steady level of support at current levels of key programs related to disability employment policy, tax preparation assistance, and financial literacy activities. A more detailed analysis will be issued in the next edition of the NDI Washington Insider.


The Administration released a series of fact sheets around the 2013 budget, including one entitled, "Expanding Opportunities for People with Disabilities". This and other fact sheets about the President's 2013 Budget, can be downloaded at:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget_factsheets_key/.

Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, will host a national conference call on Wednesday, February 15th at 2:00 p.m. EST, to discuss President Obama's Fiscal Year 2013 Budget. This call will highlight the Obama Administration's budget priorities as they relate to citizens with disabilities and provide an opportunity for questions. RSVP is required, and individuals interested in participating can RSVP at:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/webform/white-house-budget-update-february-15-2pm. This call is off the record and not for press purposes. Additional information is below:




WHEN: Wednesday February 15th, 2012  


START TIME: 2:00 p.m. EST


DIAL IN: (800) 762-4758


Passcode Title: White House Budget Update


For captioning, please go to: http://www.fedrcc.us//Enter.aspx?EventID=1905629&CustomerID=321

IRS Wage & Investment Division Commissioner Richard Byrd Retires; Former Deputy Commissioner Peggy Bogadi Named New Commissioner


IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman announced that Richard E. Byrd Jr., commissioner of the Wage & Investment (W&I) division retired at the end of December after 36 years of service and Peggy Bogadi, former Deputy Commissioner for W&I, is now the division's new commissioner. 


Commissioner Byrd has been a long-time supporter of the Real Economic Impact (REI) Tour, a champion of National Disability Institute, and an ardent supporter and advocate for improving access for taxpayers with disabilities. Commissioner Byrd and his team at W&I partnered with National Disability Institute's REI Tour on many initiatives, including improving access for deaf and hard-of-hearing taxpayers through the DeafTax pilot and working with NDI to help build disability inclusive communities of practice by helping introduce NDI and its work to the nation's free community tax coalitions.


Rick was selected in 2009 to receive the prestigious Distinguished Presidential Rank Award. Rick was also at the center of efforts at the IRS to implement many of the tax portions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), such as when the IRS threw a lifeline to struggling taxpayers through the Making Work Pay credit. Rick and W&I made a real and meaningful difference in these taxpayers' lives. 


New W&I Commissioner Peggy Bogadi previously served as W&I deputy commissioner for Operations, with oversight over some of the most critical organizations under the W&I umbrella, such as Customer Assistance, Relationships, and Education; Customer Accounts Services; and Compliance. These three organizations employ approximately 51,000 employees and are responsible for delivering customer service, including telephone and face-to-face assistance, and tax return processing for all of America's taxpayers, as well as compliance activities for W&I taxpayers.

Previously, Peggy was also the director of Submission Processing where she had day-to-day responsibility for the processing of 183 million individual and business tax returns through both electronic and paper means. In 2008, Peggy was the recipient of the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award. National Disability Institute is excited to work with Commissioner Bogadi in her new role and to continue the important work the two organizations have pioneered to better serve taxpayers with disabilities.


OFCCP Proposes Rule to Require 7% Disability Employee Hiring Goal for all Federal Subcontractors - Public Comments on Proposed Rule Extended to February 21st



The Notice for Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) proposal to require federal contractors to establish a hiring goal of 7 percent of the employer's workforce for persons with disabilities has been extended until February 21st to allow more time for disability advocates to weigh in and provide their support for the monumental policy enhancement.


The proposal represents a change from over forty years of OFCCP policy requiring contractors to make a "good faith effort" to recruit and hire people with disabilities. The rule would strengthen affirmative action requirements under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires federal contractors and subcontractors to provide equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. The proposed rule is intended to provide the clearest possible guidance for employers seeking to comply with the law and increase accountability to ensure that federal contractors are hiring citizens with disabilities. The 7 percent goal is not a hiring quota or a restrictive ceiling under the proposed rule; it is merely an EEO objective.


The proposed rule also includes a provision that would invite job applicants to self-identify as disabled and also would require federal contractors to survey their current employees annually to provide employees with the opportunity to self-identify as disabled. Voluntary self-identification will allow contractors to compile data to assess the effectiveness of recruitment efforts. Pursuant to the proposed rule, contractors also would be required to perform an annual review assessing their recruitment and hiring efforts. Finally, the rule would require federal contractors to collaborate with state vocational rehabilitation agencies or local organizations to help with recruitment and training of persons with disabilities.


Opposition from the federal contractor sector has led the leadership of the House Education & Workforce Committee to question the legality of the proposed rule. In recent  correspondence to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, House E&W Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) asks six specific questions related to the Department's legal authority to initiate the rule.


All disability stakeholders are strongly encouraged to submit comments outlining their support for the proposed rule. To read the notice of proposed rulemaking or submit a comment, visit the federal e-rulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Comments also can be submitted by mail to Debra Carr, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, U.S. Department of Labor, Room C-3325, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. All comments must be received by Feb. 21, 2012, and should include identification number (RIN) 1250-AA02.



Department of Labor Launches Employment First State Leaders Mentoring Initiative in 2012 - Solicitation Released


In an attempt to provide further support to states interested in implementing Employment First strategies in their states, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office on Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) recently announced an exciting new initiative to help states through the development of a strategic policy framework, provision of technical assistance from experts in the field, and access to mentors from other states who have already demonstrated success in implementing Employment First strategies in their states. A solicitation was released in mid-January, and 32 states participated in an informational call with the Office of Disability Employment Policy on February 6th. More information about the solicitation can be obtained at http://www.dol.gov/odep/.





Jan 2011

Jan 2012

Jan 2011

Jan 2012

% of population in the labor force






Employment-population ratio 






Unemployment Rate





As reported by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A-6


Vol: 4 Issue: 2
In This Issue
1. Calling All Advocates - Are Your Congressional Leaders on the ABLE Act?.
2. House Education & Workforce Committee Plans for Future Consideration of Workforce Investment Proposals...
3. ...while Senate HELP Committee Focuses on Development of Smaller Transition Legislative Package
4. The Grassley Proposal: Outlining a New Vision for Ensuring Long-Term Supports and Services for People with Significant Disabilities
5. .President's 2013 Budget Released - Conference Call this Wednesday, February 15th
6. IRS Wage & Investment Division Commissioner Richard Byrd Retires; Former Deputy Commissioner Peggy Bogadi Named New Commissioner
8. OFCCP Proposes Rule to Require 7% Disability Employee Hiring Goal for all Federal Subcontractors - Public Comments Extended to Feb 21
9. Department of Labor Launches Employment First State Leaders Mentoring Initiative in 2012 - Solicitation Released
10. US Disability Employment Profile - Jan 2012

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