The Arc, AAIDD, ANCOR, AUCD, NACDD, and UCP each have a rich history of building and participating in coalitions and collaborating with each other and with other organizations in pursuit of national public policy goals. Working together, we lead efforts in convincing policymakers of the vast unmet needs of our constituents and in mobilizing people with disabilities, their families, and our chapters and affiliates as active players in national public policy. All six organizations are leading members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). CCD is a Washington, DC-based coalition of more than 100 national organizations representing consumers, family members, providers, professionals, and other advocates. Because our constituents share the same needs and interests as other Americans, The Arc, AAIDD, ANCOR, AUCD, NACDD, and UCP also participate in non-disability coalitions which help further our policy goals.
The Arc, AAIDD, ANCOR, AUCD, NACDD and UCP base their public policy views on the understanding that our constituents are full citizens and full participants in a democratic society. We work to shape a state/federal partnership that provides benefits, supports, and services for our shared constituency. All people with disabilities have the right to advocate for themselves at all levels of government. The vast majority of our constituents have the right to vote.
While all six organizations support these policy goals, each organization may choose to emphasize goals specifically related to the nature of the individual organization and its respective constituents.
Our system of government was set up to give states substantial responsibility for the health, education, and well-being of our constituents. Historically, state and local governments have been unable to adequately meet the needs of our constituents.
For the past few years, our nation’s economic crisis has forced most states to eliminate or scale back services and supports, sometimes returning to outdated and restrictive service models, for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
The ongoing shift of some federal responsibilities and funding to state and local governments is further exacerbating the crisis. The unmet needs of many of our constituents and their families have grown to dangerous levels. Too many people with developmental disabilities remain un-served, are under-served, or have had their supports diminished or eliminated.
Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of people with developmental disabilities wait, often for many years, for funding for services and supports that will enable them to live, thrive, and contribute to their communities. This is unfair to people with disabilities and to American families. Countless others have either not sought services, are in states that do not maintain waiting lists for services, or have given up seeking assistance. The Arc, AAIDD, ANCOR, AUCD, NACDD, and UCP will continue to advocate for public policies that address their needs.
A divided Congress, poor economy, escalating Federal deficit, fiscal crises in nearly every state, and other pressures will test the Obama Administration and the Congress. Continued partisanship will make solving these ongoing dilemmas difficult. In many cases, the future of the disability safety net will be placed at risk. The Arc, AAIDD, ANCOR, AUCD, NACDD, and UCP will, as always, work in a bipartisan manner to protect vital services and supports for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
The foundation for the public policy agenda for the 113th Congress is built on mission statements, principles, core values, position statements, and current policies of The Arc, AAIDD, ANCOR, AUCD, NACDD, and UCP and on input from volunteers, members, and professionals from across the country. We have taken into consideration expected proposals from the White House and Congress, as well as the laws that need reauthorization in the 113th Congress. We will also deal with unexpected issues as they arise.
For the 113th Congress, we present two tiers of priorities for our programmatic legislative agenda. The tiers are “priority agenda” and “other critical goals.” The rationale for the tiered scheme is contained in the programmatic goals section of this document. We will address any and all of these goals as issues relating to them arise.
The Arc, AAIDD, ANCOR, AUCD, NACDD, and UCP closely follow how laws and policies are carried out so that our constituency is appropriately served. This includes influencing any changes in regulations as well as how the federal government implements, monitors, and enforces relevant federal programs. The ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, and Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, P.L. 111-152) will continue to be closely scrutinized, particularly any efforts to delay, repeal, or defund its implementation.