6/19/19 PRESS ALERT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information:
Bruce Darling: (585) 370-6690
Dawn Russell: (303) 884-1471
Marilee Adamski-Smith: (715) 204-4152
WHAT: Pallone is Obstructing DIA’s Movement
WHERE: House Energy & Commerce Committee, Rayburn House Office Building
WHEN: Tuesday, June 19, 2019
Pallone is Obstructing DIA’s Movement
ADAPT members are in Washington, DC having met yesterday with staff from the House Energy & Commerce Committee in an effort to secure an agreement with House Leadership to take the steps necessary to pass the Disability Integration Act in July 2019. The organization has gone to the committee led by Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) where the Disability Integration Act (DIA) (HR.555) despite having a majority of support on both the Committee and its health Sub-Committee is stuck without a hearing date or plans for a vote.
ADAPT’s frustration comes from seeing congress work to pass other legislation while using house procedure to hold up the movement of DIA. The Group has watched as congress has found the political will to pass other important legislation such as the Equality Act. Now they have signaled an intent to pass H.R. 3253, the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019, introduced by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) last week, to fund the Money Follows the Person (MFP) and Spousal Impoverishment Protections four and half years. The MPF program provides monetary incentives to states to offer Medicaid home and community-based options in lieu of institutional and nursing facility level of care. All of this is important legislation the disability community is not getting the same priority. MFP has been vital to assisting people in getting out of institutions, but unlike DIA it does nothing to ensure disabled American’s right to live in the community.
In January, ADAPT called on the House of Representatives to pass the Disability Integration Act in the House of Representatives during the week of anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since then, ADAPT and the Disability Community have 228 DIA cosponsors – more than a majority of the House of Representatives and every committee that DIA would need to move through, however House Leadership has indicated that they won’t be able to move the bill through regular order in time for passage in July. “Today, we see the House of Representatives has the power to move the bills that House Leadership want to move,” said Bruce Darling, an ADAPT Organizer from Rochester, New York. “It’s time for them to stop weaponizing regular order against the Disability Community and our fight for freedom.”
At yesterday’s meeting an Energy and Commerce staffer told ADAPT organizer’s that they held the keys to passing DIA and that it was not moving. ADAPT’s logo is an illustration of someone breaking the chains to illustrate how freedom has been denied Disabled Americans and we are breaking free of our bondage. It seems clear that they do not understand the experience of Disabled Americans who have been literally locked away in institutions where other people “hold the keys” to our freedom.
The behavior however is hard to dismiss as the action of a staffer as ADAPT was repeatedly told that Congressman Pallone was willing to take it on the chin to stop this bill from moving. ADAPT, who has been working to pass the Bill, say they are growing increasingly concerned that this is coordinated effort by Congressman Pallone to block the civil rights of the millions of disabled Americans who are depending on this bill’s passage. “We have increasingly heard that Congressman Pallone is trying to block the bill” said Anita Cameron ADAPT organizer “This meeting only confirmed it for us.”
ADAPT is gravely concerned that House Committee Leadership is refusing to take the steps needed to move DIA out of committee and to the House floor for a vote. “Incentives and programs only go so far,” said Dawn Russell, an ADAPT Organizer from Denver, Colorado. “Funding these programs and incentivizing states to do the right thing is vital, but that doesn’t go far enough, we need the Disability Integration Act passed into law.”
ADAPT has worked for decades to secure the same rights and liberties for Disabled Americans as those enjoyed by their non-disabled neighbors. Learn more about ADAPT’s history and activities at www.adapt.org, on social media with the National ADAPT Facebook and Twitter pages. Also, keep up to date on their current endeavors by following the hashtags #DIAToday and #ADAPTandRESIST.