Advocacy update: More wins on the Hill

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on October 04, 2018 # Advocacy and Policy

We have three pieces of great news to share as the 115th Congress goes into an extended recess prior to the elections. The below triumphs reflect the hard work of our advocates who mobilized around these issues and contacted their legislators. Progress is only possible when we come together, so please sign up to receive urgent advocacy alerts and have your voice count towards change.

Increased funding for the PRC

Congress approved a $1 million increase in FY ‘19 for a total of $8.7 million to fund the Reeve Foundation’s national Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) and state-based resources. The increase will allow the Reeve Foundation to extend the reach of the PRC, including more Quality of Life Grants and additional support services for Americans living with paralysis.

Support for the RAISE Family Caregiver Act

Also included in Congress’ 2019 spending bill is funding to support the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. The RAISE Act requires Congress to develop a national strategy to support family caregivers. This will include an advisory body to bring together relevant federal agencies, as well as representatives from the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations on how to better support caregivers nationwide. As you know, family caregivers make it possible for older adults and people with disabilities to live independently in their homes and communities. In 2013, about 40 million family caregivers provided unpaid care valued at about $470 billion to adults who required assistance with daily activities, more than total Medicaid spending that year. It is a huge win for our community that Congress is recognizing the wonderful and necessary work of caregivers and have embarked on a path to provide them with additional help and support.

Elevated protections for travelers with disabilities

Finally, we’re pleased to announce that Congress has passed the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that will address the concerns and safety of air passengers with disabilities. These include:

  • The requirement for the creation of an Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights and the establishment of an Advisory Committee on the Air Travel Needs of Passengers with Disabilities.
  • An increase in civil penalties for harm to a passenger with a disability or his/her mobility aid. The bill improves ACAA regulations governing ticketing and training of airline employees and contractors who provide assistance to passengers with disabilities, along with the expedited implementation of the reporting requirement on wheelchair and scooter enplanements.
  • Language to address the problems people with disabilities encounter when transiting airport security checkpoints, including a requirement for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to revise training requirements for Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) concerning the screening of passengers with disabilities.

These victories reflect the continued and steadfast support of Reeve Foundation advocates who emailed, called, tweeted, posted, and offered to meet with legislators to discuss the importance of these issues. Their efforts took only minutes, but it had a tremendous and profound impact.

We will never stop working to elevate the needs and rights of all individuals living with paralysis, so please make sure to join us and use your voice. Together, we achieve more.