Important Updates on Congress and Disability Issues


August 17, 2020 | by Amber Smock

Important Updates on Congress and Disability Issues

August 17, 2020

There’s a lot of national news events impacting people with disabilities right now, and we’d like to recap what’s happening in three key areas. As follows…

U.S. Senate Adjourns Without Taking Action on Covid-19 Relief

Last week on Thursday, the U.S. Senate adjourned for summer recess without taking a vote on a Covid-19 relief bill. The U.S. House had adjourned on July 31. This is a major problem because this means that there is no new Covid-19 relief forthcoming from Congress. Although the President can issue Executive Orders and memos, he cannot release new funds because Congress holds the power of the Treasury. The Senate will next be in session on September 8. The House of Representatives was originally scheduled to be in session on September 14, 2020. Technically, talks for new Covid-19 relief could occur before Congress goes back to DC in September, but no new talks are scheduled at this time. See next item for more.

Delays for U.S. Postal Service

Congress’ being on recess could be disrupted by the crisis facing the U.S. Postal Service. Many of you will probably have seen on the news that the Postmaster General of the United States, Louis DeJoy, has set up measures to save costs in the Post Office. However, these measures are beginning to cause severe delays for essential mail items like paychecks and prescriptions, and there is increasing concern about the use of the mail for the fall national election. As a result of the outcry over the increasing delays, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is calling the U.S. House back to session in Washington, DC this coming Saturday, to vote on a bill to fund the Postal Service and ease the crisis. However, the Senate would also need to vote on such a bill, and there is no plan at this time for the Senate to return to DC. See more at this link.

Public Charge Rule Back n Effect

Unfortunately, the federal public charge rule is now back in effect for certain immigrants seeking citizenship in the United States. Last week, a court issued a partial stay of a temporary injunction that prevented full implementation of the rule. However, it is now back in effect. The rule is discriminatory against immigrants with disabilities in particular, who are more likely to have needed support from public safety net programs, which under the rule means that the federal government may be LESS likely to grant them citizenship. The idea behind the rule is that immigrants who use public programs would be a “burden” to the government. Advocates have been fighting this rule for a long time, and Access Living stands in continued opposition to the rule. More info is at this website.

Please feel free to share this update with other concerned advocates.