Americans with disabilities should have the same freedoms as all other Americans, including the right to be a part of the community. We have a right to spend time with our family and friends doing things like going to a restaurant or movie when we want, and to pursue happiness as we want. Those rights were never fully in place and are now under attack.
Despite the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law 27 years ago, legislation in the House of Representatives such as the ADA Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620) would undermine the ADA by requiring a six-month waiting period before a business can be held accountable for failing to comply with this 1990 civil rights legislation.
Despite the fact that most people would rather stay in their homes and be in control over their lives, institutional providers are fighting to keep millions of people with disabilities in quasi-institutions which have called themselves “community” but which restrict our ability to come and go, to order our lives, even to eat what or when we choose and when to need to go to sleep.
Imperfect though the justice system is, elderly people with incontinence and memory issues can have their liberty stripped from them by institutionalization with fewer due process protections than people accused of murder. And this happens every day.
By cosponsoring HR 620 which encourages other Democrats to cosponsor the bill and by threatening to undercut the rules promoting community integration in Medicaid, Congressman Rush is continuing the unjust exclusion and segregation of Americans with Disabilities.
ADAPT demands that Congressman Rush:
- Pull his cosponsorship of HR 620 and publicly support the rights of Disabled Americans to access their community; and
- Publicly support the current definition of community as determined by federal regulations under the Obama Administration and protect these HCBS rules from attack.