Members of ADAPT have come to Washington, D.C. from around the country this week with the aim of turning nationwide support for the Disability Integration Act (DIA – HR555) into support in Congress. We have seen great progress as Representative Jerry Nadler, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Representatives Rush, Peters, Kuster, and O’Halleran from the Energy and Commerce Committee all agreed to cosponsor DIA. These cosponsors will be vital to getting the bill marked up and ensuring that DIA gets a hearing in committee. Several members of Congress also committed to working with us to ensure DIA gets the hearing and markup needed to go to the floor.
As of today, we have 129 cosponsors in the House – with 118 Democrats on the bill. That means we only need 100 more Democratic cosponsors in the House of Representatives in order to bring DIA to the floor for a vote.
Our time in DC has not been untroubled; we ran into roadblocks yesterday from the staff of Representative Frank Pallone, the powerful chair of Energy and Commerce. Although he promised his constituents during last year’s campaign season that he would cosponsor DIA, he has yet to do so. Congressman Pallone’s support will be crucial to ensuring that we can get DIA to a vote on the House floor before the 29th anniversary of the signing of the American’s with Disabilities Act (July 26, 2019). Passage by this date will allow us to turn our full attention to the task of moving DIA through the Republican controlled Senate.
We need the entire Disability Community to reach out to Congressman Pallone and urge him to honor the promise he made at a candidate forum during last year’s election to cosponsor DIA.
Pallone’s staff have told us that he does not cosponsor bills that are in his committee, even though he’s cosponsoring least 20 of them so far this year. They have told us they have heard from parent groups concerned that DIA would cut their kids funding, even though DIA is not a program bill and will not cut federal funding. His staff have thanked ADAPT for saving the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid all while telling us that the Disability Community needs to wait. Freedom isn’t something we should be required to wait for. No one should be locked away in an institution simply because they have a disability. We must all come together and demand that Congressman Pallone keep his word to the Disability Community and his constituents to Free Our People!
Congressman Pallone alone, however, will not be enough to pass DIA in the House by July 26, 2019, so we must reach out to ALL of our representatives, especially those on the Energy and Commerce and Judiciary committees. We must call, email, tweet and visit them to demand that they cosponsor HR 555. Ask your friends and family to contact them as well. All of us working together can get Congress to include the freedom of people with disabilities as part of their agenda.
We have never been closer to securing disability freedom. It is time for Congress to ensure that Americans with disabilities can enjoy the right to freedom that other Americans can take for granted.
TAKE ACTION: Call your member of the House now at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to cosponsor the Disability Integration Act (HR.555). If they already cosponsor the bill, ask them to reach out to Rep. Pallone and urge him to keep his word and cosponsor the Disability Integration Act NOW!
Then call Rep. Pallone directly at (202) 225-4671 and tell him to cosponsor the Disability Integration Act because Americans with Disabilities should not wait any longer to live in freedom!