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LSA Washington – June 2, 2010

A regular publication from the LSA Public Policy Office

House Passes Extenders Bill Without FMAP and COBRA Extensions

The House on Friday, May 28, voted on a pared down American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act, H.R. 4213. After pressure from a group of conservative Democratic members of the Blue Dog coalition, House leadership cut the six-month extension of enhanced FMAP funding as well as an extension of COBRA benefits because they were not paid for. The bill did retain $1.065 billion in funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, an extension of funding for the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund and the reestablishment of the IRA Charitable Deduction. The House also split off the portion which included the Medicare "doc fix" and passed that provision separately.

Your call is needed! Please contact your Representative's and Senators' district and DC offices today - even if you have already done so- and tell them action is needed immediately to extend the enhanced FMAP rate and COBRA benefits. You can find contact information for your Representative here, and for your Senators here. Information on how your Representative voted can be found here.

The House and Senate will be back in session on Monday, June 7. The Senate is expected to take up this legislation immediately upon their return, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he expects amendments to the legislation. This could mean the FMAP and COBRA funding could be added back onto the bill, but it also means the unemployment insurance, National Housing Trust Fund and TANF Emergency Contingency Fund allocations could be stripped from the bill. When talking with Senators' offices, please reiterate the importance of keeping the funding which was included in the House-passed bill as well as adding back funding for FMAP and COBRA.

For more information, please contact Lisa Hassenstab via e-mail or at 202-626-7932.

DOJ files briefs in FL, IL, NJ arguing a failure to comply with the ADA

On Tuesday, May 25, building on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent complaint against Arkansas, DOJ announced that it has filed briefs in support of plaintiffs in three cases in Florida, Illinois and New Jersey as part of an effort to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to live in the least restricted settings in accordance with civil rights laws. DOJ outlines in its briefs that the states fail to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Supreme Court Olmstead v. L.C. decision. In two of the cases, persons with disabilities argue that the states, NJ and IL, have not moved quickly enough or provided enough support for individuals to move out of institutions. In the third case, Michele Haddad alleges that Florida does not offer specific support services needed for her to remain in the community and that the only place to receive these services currently is an institutional option. For more information about the brief, check out the DOJ website.

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