ADA Anniversary Update: 29 Years Burning Down the Road

July 16, 2019


The 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is just over a year away. What has happened over the past 29 years in fulfilling the goals of the ADA? Equality of opportunity: Full participation: Independent living: Economic self-sufficiency: Join us as Andy Imparato reflects on these goals and discusses current/future policy issues impacting persons with disabilities. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions of the presenter.

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July 2019 ADA Audio Webinar: ADA Anniversary Update: 29 Years Burning Down the Road



Thank you and welcome to the July ADA conference. The ADA Audio Conference series is a project of the ADA National Network. The National Network is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Community Living, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. And we are pleased to be with you today.

If you ever have questions, you can reach your regional ADA center by calling 800-949-4232 or visiting ADA

Well we are in the month of July. We're glad all of you are able to join us today. This has been a long-running session. The ADA anniversary session as part of the ADA conference series. We are very pleased to have Andy Imparato with us today. He's actually with us. We're fortunate that Andy is in town for the disability-in conference here in Chicago. We're in an undisclosed location in Chicago to hear from Andy.

Andy, since 2013, has been the executive director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, AUCD. Prior to that, Andy was the president and CEO of AAPD, American Association of People With Disabilities.

And way back, he worked for senator Harkin, one of the architects of the ADA. So Andy certain has a wealth of knowledge and experience in disability and we are very pleased to have Andy join us today to take a look as we're quickly approaching the 29th anniversary of the ADA to look at the goals of the ADA and where we started, where we've been, and where we are currently, and what does the road look like going forward. We couldn't ask for a better speaker to join us and provide the update.

As a quick reminder, for those in the webinar room you can submit your questions while Andy is speaking and we'll have plenty of time to entertain your questions following Andy's presentation.

So that's enough of me. Let's turn it over to Andy. Andy, thank you very much for joining us today.


Well, thank you, Peter. It's great to be here. I just want to acknowledge the leadership here with you and Robin and Claudia. I learned you guys have all been working together as a team for at least 15 years and that's impressive that you guys are hanging in there and doing the leadership not just for the Great Lakes but in the context for this series for the whole country. And I have known Robin since back in my days at -- I probably met her when I was working at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. So it's been a long time, probably at least 20 years.

So I'm going to be brief, just kind of reflect a little bit on what's happened in the last 29 years and kind of what I see as some of the things that are in front of us as we celebrate this milestone anniversary next summer.

But I have to say, I think that was Robin's alarm clock that went off earlier, and I think it was playing The Long and Winding Road. That may be because I just saw that movie yesterday and I have that in my head but it's probably a good metaphor for the first 29 years of the ADA.

Just for people that may not know, my background, you know, I'm a lawyer. I've been open as having bipolar disorder throughout my career. I've been in DC since '93, starting out doing disability work in Boston. I've actually worked for all three branches in the federal government. I clerked for a federal judge after law school in Boston. I worked at the equal opportunity commission, national council on disability. And I had two different stints with Senator Harkin on what became the health education and repression committee, the first time worked for it was called labor and human resources.

I think of myself as a second generation Disability Activist because I wasn’t around when people worked on the original round of the ADA but I graduated from law school in May of 1990 right before the Americans with Disabilities Act passed, and I had a new diagnosis with bipolar disorder that I got soon after graduating from law school. I'm kind of part of a generation of professionals who have been able to be out and open with our disabilities at work and I think that would have been a lot harder if I didn't have the ADA. So I'm grateful to those who worked on the original ADA and I feel like there's kind of a generational passing of the baton going on now, to what Senator Harken referred to as the ADA generation, people who grew up after the passage of the ADA. Some of them are moving into important leadership positions, like Maria Town just took over this week at my old stomping ground at the American Association, so I'm kind of excited to see what the ADA generation and the millennials will kind of -- kind of where they will take our movement and kind of the impact they can have on achieving the goals of the ADA over time, over the next 30 years.

The other thing I wanted to mention is I did work hard when on the ADA amendments act in 2008 whichover turned a bunch of problematic Supreme Court decisions that narrowed the scope of the protected class under the ADA. I'm happy to answer questions about that, if people want to kind of reflect on that together as we celebrate this anniversary.

Last stint I had with Senator Harkin was 2010 to 2013. At that point, he was very focused on unemployment and he felt like we had accomplished a lot of big things since the passage of the ADA but was frustrated that the employment rates for people with disabilities had not gone up in a measurable and significant way since the ADA passed in 1990. We are starting to see some progress in that area. Again, it's relatively modest. We might have gone up from 29% to 33% in the last couple of years. But still, that means two-thirds of working-aged adults with disabilities are not participating in the labor force, not earning an active income and not looking for a job, which I think all of us working in the disabilities field are frustrated by and something I would hope would be something to be addressed regardless who is in the White House or leadership in congress over the next 30 years.

So I guess what I would say, my overarching message on the first 29 years, is that we have made tremendous progress in the built environment and in things that you can legislate. But, you know, attitudes about disability in our country and globally have been slow to change. And I guess I'm more convinced than ever that attitudes tend to change across generations. You know, the kids that grew up in integrated classrooms after 94192, IDEA or disabilities education act, I think you have different attitudes around disabilities than the generation who grew up before that the passage of that law and may not have had a lot of exposure to other kids with disabilities.

I do think this ADA generation, people who kind of came of age since the passage of the ADA, has high expectations for themselves, and what they can hope to achieve in the labor force. I think there's a lot of folks in the ADA generation who are interested in going to law school, business school, medical school, and they're kind of disrupting the professions in a good way, and the professional schools, and the testing systems in a good way.

And I guess, you know, Senator Harkin liked to talk about the four goals in the Americans with Disabilities Act that congress put into law and that kind of showed up in a lot of other laws that came through the same now called the health committee and jurisdiction. Those goals are quality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. I guess I think about, okay, how did we do 29 years in on those goals?

I would say equality of opportunity and full participation are both not possible without access and affordability. And if you look at the kind of environment that people interact with in order to participate in the labor force, or to participate in recreational opportunities or to participate in air travel and other forms of travel, we're still not in a place where people can count on accessibility in every setting that they might interact with. If you look at the technology, the kind of universe that people interact with in order to navigate the internet and navigate all the various kind of apps and ways of getting information in the 21st century, we still can't count on accessibility.

And affordability, I think, is a big issue, as well. There are haves and have not's in the disability community that affect the quality of education, that children with disabilities gather, that it affects access to higher education and professional or postsecondary education beyond college.

It affects what kind of housing and what kind of, you know, built environment people can afford to live in.

So as I think about the next 30 years, I think we need to double down on our commitment to universal access for people with all types of disabilities and recognize that part of that is affordability, and in the case of housing and transportation, there's also an issue of safety. You know? Are people comfortable accessing the fixed route system and can they use that system without experiencing harassment or potential risk to their physical safety?

In the context of the other two goals, you know, independent living as a goal I would argue is not possible for a lot of folks with disabilities, as long as we have an institutional bias in the Medicaid program. This, I think, is one of the biggest kind of ongoing challenges we have as we look at the next 30 years. The ADA was a civil rights law but it was superimposed on these older laws that kind of set the parameters for how the government is going to support people with significant disabilities who need long-term services and support. And those laws were written at a time when we had lower expectations for people with disabilities, and they've been very slow to be modernized so that they're completely in sync with the goals of the Americans with disabilities act.

We should not, in 2020, still have a law in the books that requires people with disabilities to prove that they can't work in order to get support from the government, that they would need to work. It's kind of a backward system. We shouldn't have laws that punish people with significant disabilities if they earn too much money. We shouldn't have laws that will pay for long-term services and supports in a nursing home or other institution settings but refuse to pay for those supports in the community or make it optional to pay for those supports in the community but mandatory to pay for them in an institution.

We have laws like the disability immigration act right now that's trying to address part of that problem. There's been a number of laws the most recent are the ticket to work and work incentives, to improve that, to address barriers in the Social Security system.

I would argue we're spending $5 billion a year on Medicaid, Medicare, SSI and SSDI. Most of that money is supporting people with disabilities outside the labor force in poverty. Those programs were designed to support people with disabilities outside the labor force in poverty and that's not a modern approach to supporting people with disabilities. That to me, that's a big thing, how to reorient those big dollar programs so they're consistent with the goals and vision of the ADA and not do inadvertent harm in the process, because changing those big programs is not easy. You get a huge score from CBO when you try to change anything in the congressional budget office. It's not an easy thing to do. We probably have to have a culture of innovation at the state level where states are empowered to try new things, test out new definitions of disability, test out different kinds of support, and then armed with data from the states try to use that to do something more comprehensive at the federal level. But that's a good project for the next 30 years. I would certainly hope if I'm alive 30 years from now we've done something significant to modernize our approach to long-term solutions for people with disabilities.

I want to get to the Q & A. Just a couple other points.

When I worked at the national council on disability, we did a study of federal enforcement of all the major civil rights laws.

My biggest take-away, this is between 1998 and 2000 when we did most of these studies, my biggest take- away from those studies was, that we had good laws on the books, but they were not particularly what we call well enforced by the government. The enforcement apparatus in the federal government was not particularly robust. A good example was the air care access act, NCD's documented the dependent of transportation, when they did the report on Federal enforcement of this, had one half of one person whose job it was to enforce this act for the whole country.

And, you know, I worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for three years. I was a special assistant to Paul Steven Miller, a Clinton appointee, to the commissioner there. If you think about all the people who experience disability discrimination in the workplace and you think of the capacity of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate and respond to all the instances of discrimination, it doesn't come close. EOC will never be big enough to get out there and investigate every charge of discrimination on the basis of disability and bring employers to justice when they violate the ADA.

My biggest take-away from these studies is if we want these civil rights laws to be enforced we need to have a well-educated protected class of people who are protected by the laws, need to know their rights, and need to know how to assert their rights, and they need to know how to access the various federal enforcement mechanisms after they try to assert their rights directly with the covered entities.

If you think about it in the context of education, children with disabilities do better when their parents know their rights and are able to assert their rights in the classroom. The idea that the office of civil rights Department of Education is going to be big enough and robust enough to be in every classroom is not realistic but it is realistic to think that parents of children with disabilities could be educated. Especially if you think about -- I know the ADA technical assistance centers are kind of experts in this. Think about all the ways to educate people online that we didn't have when the ADA passed. There's no reason why a parent of a child with a disability should not be able to get user-friendly materials and know their child's rights in multiple languages and formats and be able to ask questions and get those questions answered.

So as we think about the next 30 years, I don't personally think the executive branch of the federal government needs to beef up their enforcement apparatus, but I do think they need to beef up their education apparatus to educate people in the protected class. Educate people with disabilities. In the case of children, educate their parents. In general, it's good to educate family members of people with disabilities because a lot of times they end up being the ones that are asserting the rights in the background.

But I just don't think we've invested enough. You go back to the original ADA. The Department of Justice we had the train-the-trainer model, and I don't know that it was ever replicated. So to the extent that model is still a good model, I don't know we're not -- why that's not an ongoing commitment on the part of the federal government. I guess you could say the ADA regional and technical assistance centers perform that function, but I feel like there's probably a way that the ADA TA center function could be supplemented or extended, if you will, to a bigger investment that is a regular train-the-trainer thing that is done with strong support from the Department of Justice, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and any other, you know, enforcement agency that would make sense, depending on what people are getting trained on.

So just quickly, in terms of the next 30 years, these are some of the things I would expect and hope. One, I think we're going to move from a compliance orientation to an innovation orientation, to really challenge people. What counts as leadership in this space is not going to be simply compliance with any applicable federal law. It's going to be way beyond compliance and try to be a leader and innovator that is developing a level of accessibility, a level of affirmative outreach, recruitment, promotion, advancement for people with disabilities, that is not required by any federal law, but that is necessary in order for people with disabilities to start showing up in much larger numbers in the labor force.

I think there's going to be more focus on equity and more focus on affordability. Within the disability community, as I said earlier, there are haves and have nots.

There are disparities around economics, around race, around whether you live in an urban or rural area.

I think we need to bring research to bare. I think California is leading the way right now if you look at the work they did at who is getting services from the regional services. They disability a lot of the resources under the state Medicaid program, there are huge disparities around race in terms of who gets services from those regional centers and now California is getting a lot more serious about trying to address those disparities.

I think over the next 30 years there's going to be more labor force participation from people with disabilities and it's going to put more pressure on the transportation system, the health care system, other systems that people interact with around their job. Those systems are going to have to work better for a much larger population of people with disabilities who are participating in the competitive labor market.

I think, you know, certainly there's going to be an increased emphasis on technology, and I'm kind of really intrigued to see how quickly -- I just think back on my own career how quickly my life has been changed by technology. So it's hard to think in the next 30 years all the things that might happen.

Certainly, autonomous vehicles seem like a very real thing. Artificial intelligence and how that might get applied in various contexts is a fascinating thing for me to think about. And then you put a civil rights or an equity or social justice overlay around these new technologies, is it going to be the rich people get all these technologies first and then there's a trickle down? Or are we going to have some kind of a commitment to get the technology out there? If you think about a cell phone, or a television, I feel like those two technologies were distributed to the masses relatively quickly, but there are lots of other technologies that didn't get to the masses, you know, for a much longer period of time. And something like an autonomous vehicle, I'm fascinated to think about how quickly that can be made affordable for a wide population in a variety of geographies.

I also think there's going to be, cover the next 30 years, stronger global communities of practice. When we think about how to make a ride-sharing service completely accessible for people with disabilities, I don't think in the United States we're just going to look at models in the United States. I think we're going to look at London. We're going to look at Dubai. We're going to look at Stockholm. There will be innovators and other geographies outside of the United States who are doing things better than we are and we're going to know about it and learn about it and try to make it happen in this country. That's kind of exciting to me. I feel like the U.S. has been a global leader in so many of these areas for decades, but I feel like in a lot of ways we're being Eclipsed by other countries right now. So I'm kind of intrigued to learn from those countries.

The last thing I want to say about the next 30 years is the courts. Civil rights laws are pieces of paper that get interpreted.

And we've had a number of really problematic Supreme Court and lower federal court decisions interpreting the Americans with disabilities act in a variety of ways.

I would argue we're still waiting for a Brown versus Board of Education decision for disability. We're still waiting for a beautifully written decision from the United States Supreme Court that makes crystal clear that the equal protection clause in the Constitution applies to people with disabilities in a robust way, and that things that we've kind of just taken as, well, that's just the way it is, are no longer going to be okay.

And I think part of the reason we haven't had a Brown versus Board of Education decision from the United States Supreme Court is we haven't had justices on the United States Supreme Court that really have a deep understanding of disability as a civil rights or a human rights issue.

If you look at justice Thur good Marshal's concurrence and dissent in the Clayborn case which was a case about group homes, making it harder to get group homes in a community, he compared this to discrimination of race, against people with intellectual disabilities, in a very powerful way. That was a long time ago that decision came out in 1986 it was pre-ADA.

I would argue the Supreme Court has not gotten better in their interpretation of the Constitution in the area of disabilities since 1986, in some ways its gotten worst. I have some hope for justice Sodomayer based on her lived experience with diabetes as a child and part based on her track record in the appellate court before entering the Supreme Court that she might write a beautifully disabilities rights decision like good Marshal wrote in 86’, but isn't it sad that we're in 2019 and were still waiting for a seminal Supreme Court decision that really robustly interprets the ADA and the Constitution.

Some people might argue that the Homestead decision for our 20th anniversary is our equivalent of Brown versus Board. But if you look at Homestead these were two women who were living in an institution used the ADA saying we shouldn't have to live in a segregated setting; we should be able to live in the community. The trial court in Homestead said, absolutely, they should have a right to live in the community. The appellate court said they have a strong right to live in a community. The state would have to introduce a lot of evidence to prevent them to live in a community. And the Supreme Court said, yes, the ADA does have a integration mandate and yes, it does means something, but then they gave the state 15 different things they could argue why they didn't have to provide supports in the community.

So you can compare the holding and the strength of the holding in Holmstead to the strength of the holding and writing in Brown versus Board of Education. To me, there's no comparison.

So the reason I end with the courts is to just to say that courts are about judges. And judges are about who appoints the judges and why.

And we need more judges to have lived experiences with disability. We have had a number of democratic and republican presidents who had diversity on the bench as a priority. None of them, prioritize appointing judges with disabilities, including Obama, he did not prioritize appointing judges with disabilities. That was not part of the disability equation. My hope is the next time we get a friendly administration we will be more serious about forcing them to appoint judges with disability, obviously, who are also qualified and are good judges. And that again, in part because of this increased demand, going to law school, every generation there's going to be more attorneys who have the kind of educational pedigree and employment background to be competitive for these kinds of judgeships, but it's sad to me that almost 30 years after the ADA you can probably count on one hand the number of federal judges who had a strong disability background before they became a judge.

So why don't I stop there.

And I look forward to the discussion.


All right. Excellent. Thank you very much, Andy. Anna, we're going to come to you in a second to see if we have any questions on the telephone at this time.

But as the host/moderator, I want to ask my own question to start it off here. You piqued my interest when you talked about generational, the way that disability is viewed. This is probably going to be a generational thing. You know, working at the ADA center and answering the telephone, it's a common occurrence to hear the word "hand capped." For the most part, it's a generational thing.

Also, in my experience, I've heard, you know, ADA, especially since we have the 25th anniversary 4 years ago, and we're approaching the 30th next year. People know what the ADA is but it's used all over the place.

My cousin has ADA at work. You know?


People used to call us at AAPD and say, "Is this the ADA? Am I talking to the ADA ?"


Right. We get calls here, is this the American dietary or dental or diabetes, anything ADA, to the point where ADA has become synonymous with everything disability or accessibility or inaccessibility.


Yeah. I think part of your question is -- goes back to my point about what we're doing to educate the protected class. You know?

ADA is one civil rights law. It's not the only civil rights law that matters to people with disabilities. You have the 21st century video and communications accessibility act. You have the Fair Housing Act. You have the various Section 508, 503, 501, 504, of the rehabilitation act.

I feel like if you're a disabled person or a parent of a disabled child, you don't really need to know which law requires what. What you need to know is what is required by federal laws. And I feel like we could get better at not branding all these different laws, which nobody needs to know about, but get better at saying here are five things that every parent of a disabled child should know when they go to an IEP meeting.

If you are looking for an example that does this well. Look at, which is a web portal with a strong social media backup, that is designed to educate parents with learning disabilities, and its state-of-the-art and really compelling, effective and interactive and they have millions of families they're interacting with.

Just imagine if the Department of Education had something like that with all the different disabilities?

I think we have way underinvested in educated people on what their rights are.

For me, I'm not bothered by they don't know what the different acts require, but I want them to know to if they see a violation.


I follow-up, we will get to your questions, folks, I promise, you talked about the ADA generation. I've heard from people, comments about the ADA generation, pre-ADA, didn't know what people with disabilities went through prior to that or the disability rights movement and getting the ADA passed.

So for a large part, that is an educated generation. They know what their rights are when they go into an educational setting, postsecondary, or into employment. What are your thoughts in terms of the impact, when you talk about an educated generation of people? What is the impact overall for the disability rights movement for people who are really focused on they know their rights but may not necessarily be looking at it as a community of people with disabilities?


I guess when we talked about the ADA generation, we weren't just talking about the young people with disabilities. Right? We were talking about the whole generation. So the idea was if you were part of that generation and you don't have a disability, you've been exposed to a civil rights frame for disability. You've been around colleagues with disabilities in a classroom or other setting throughout your career. To the extent you move into a role where you're hiring or supervising people, you might carry with you a little bit less bias and a little bit more openness to the idea that disabilities are a natural part of human experience and natural part of human diversity. If you don't have disabled people or people with lived experience in your workforce you're missing something. I think that's the hope. That there are more people in the ADA generation that are thinking about that than there are in generations that came before them.


You said in your comments that that goes all the way back to, you know, what is now known as the IDEA that you've had over a generation, 40 years or whatever, of people who have grown up being educated side-by-side with their peers with disabilities.

And hopefully, those are the individuals who are, you know, our current or future policy-makers. Or employers. Or whatever. And disabilities is hopefully second nature and it's not uncommon to be working side-by-side with someone with a disability.


Yeah. Another example I would give is my wife and I met in college and we graduated in 1987 and then our oldest son went to the same college and graduated in 2015. And when we were in college, the students that were politically active and involved in social justice issues on campus were protesting apartheid and various issues going on around the campus. But disability inclusion was not really part of that conversation. Mental illness services for students was really not part of that conversation. Some of the unique needs for people with diverse racial backgrounds with mental disabilities wasn't really part of the conversation on the campus in a very visible way. I think these conversations always went on among the people directly affected, but it wasn't a visible kind of political issue that was going on around the campus.

I feel like if you fast forward to when our son graduated from the same college, the college wasn't much better but the students were much more upset about it. You know?

So the quality of the mental health services on campus were not much better than when my wife and I were there, but the students saw it through a political lens. Like why aren't they better? We want our peers to be able to get state-of-the-art mental health services and nobody should be ashamed to go get mental health services and you should be ashamed for not providing them. That was the attitude of my son’s classmates. I didn't hear a lot of that when I was in college.

I think that's an example of generational progress. It's still slow, but I think that's how change happens is when students demand it.


Right. Excellent. Anna, I'm going to ask you at this time to go ahead and give instructions for telephone participants on how they can ask questions.


Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, at this time, if you have a question, please press the star and then the number 1 key on your touchtone telephone. If your question has been answered or you wish to remove yourself from the queue, please press the pound key. To prevent background noise, we ask you place your line on mute once your question has been stated. One moment for your question.


We have a question submitted on line. The person is asking about the recent debates held, already starting the 2020 campaign season. And this is -- this is national disability voter registration week, I believe.




People with disabilities are a huge block, 18 to 20% of the U.S. population are people with disabilities, it's a huge voting and purchasing block. The person says they saw on Twitter and news coverage disability didn't come up during those debates. How -- the question is how do you reengage or engage these politicians in, you know, disability issues? The issues that have impacted a huge segment of the population?


Yeah, no, I think it's a great question. You know, my answer to that is kind of like my answer on the judiciary. The way we get candidates to start talking about disability issues is to have more candidates that have disabilities and more candidates that are fluent in disability, if that makes sense.

Elizabeth Warren is a good example. She likes to talk about how early in her career she was a special education teacher. Sometimes she says she was a special needs teacher. So she has some exposure to disability. I think she has some heart for it. I think to the extent she has a plan for everything, we haven't really heard her plan for disability in a robust way. I mean certainly if you look at her plans for health care, and a number of issues, all of those issues affect people with disabilities, but she doesn't have, like, a clearly articulated disability platform that I'm aware of.

Bernie Sanders articulated a pretty interesting disability platform around the Homestead anniversary and was definitely the most proactive around getting that message out around the anniversary of any of the democratic candidates. You would think Biden having served eight years with Obama would be comfortable talking about disability, and disability accomplishments of the Obama administration but we haven't seen it much on the campaign trail.

I don't know. Part of it is having more journalists with disabilities asking these questions. And part of us getting better organized as a voting bloc, political constituency and demanding these questions be asked, having communication with the DNC and RNC. I want to give Tony Cuomo a lot of credit former democratic whip in congress who has epilepsy. He's done everything in his power to get Tom Perez at the DNC and a number of folks, very engaged with Hillary Clinton, to get them to speak to our issues, but there's only so much one person can do.

I feel like the democratic convention in 2016 was a milestone for our community in the sense there were visible speakers during primetime who were not Christopher Reeve. They grew up in the disability movement and had major speeches. All of them had disability threads in them, including Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech. She had a major focus on that in Florida during the general election. A lot of things happened in that campaign that I don't remember happening before. Maybe the first George Bush's acceptance speech who committed to having a civil rights law, to get people's attention in prime time during that particular moment.

I feel like these candidates are going to get better as we get closer to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and certainly the national convention but it's still sad that it's okay to have a debate where nobody brings up disability and nobody even notices it.


We still have a long ways to go on that. Anna, I'm going to be coming to you in a second.

You mentioned in your remarks, Andy, about you'd be able to field questions about the ADA amendments act. Someone wanted to know some of the background of just how difficult that was to pull together from the perspective of the disability community and working with the business community and the employment community. The person also is asking was it difficult at that point when you -- when you attempt to amend a law to prevent other unintended things from getting in there, that you may address the issue of returning to the original intent of the congress, and the definition of disability. How do you avoid getting unintended weakening of a law when you amend it?


Yeah, first, I would say having been in Washington for 26 years and been on the inside of writing laws and then, you know, pushing for laws from the outside, it's much easier to stop a bad thing from becoming law than it is to enact a law. So I think one of the saving graces when you go in and open up a civil rights law, and when that happened, when we started talking about amending the ADA, we had all kinds of people saying, "Oh, no, you don't want to touch the ADA."

It's the same thing talking about changing the definition of disability of the Social Security act." Oh, no, don't change the definition, you're only going to make it worse."

to me, that's negotiating from a position of weakness. I had confidence in our community. If there was something we didn't like adding to the ADA amendments act, we would have stopped it. We were careful to frame it in a bipartisan frame. Lex freedman, when he was chair of the council, he wrote a beautiful report calling on congress to fix these bad Supreme Court decisions that had narrowed the scope of the protected class. There were some other things in the report but that was the central stuff they talked about.

I think Bob Bird goff was involved in editing that and he had very good people involved.

When we went up to the hill originally, this was George W Bush appointed asking us to restore protections to the law signed by the original George Bush and we want you to sign this. Jim Sensenbrenner was the chair of the house judiciary committee, he introduced, it was back then it was called the ADA restoration act, and it was his staff, Kim Betz, who wrote it. John Conyers and others signed on to it, but Jim wrote it. Cheryl Sensenbrenner went around, she was well-known as a disabled woman and a lot of them knew her personally for years, and she went around and got people to co-sponsor it. When Jim reintroduced it in the House, we had, I think, over 100 republicans on the bill from day one. That got the attention of the business community. I think they realized, oh, something is going on here. This is not your usual civil rights coalition. They were motivated to come to the table. They came to the table. There was a reach out to Tom Donahue and said, "I'd like to sit down with the disability community and negotiate terms everybody can live with."

And we did. That was incredibly helpful to our coalition. Mike Eastman was also incredibly helpful. Randy Johnson worked on the original ADA for Steve Bartland in the house. So we had a great group of people that worked hard. We were creative. We were careful. We trusted each other. We both had rowdy coalitions that we went back to and tried to keep in the loop and keep together, and it worked. I don't know that I could say exactly why it worked, but I think part of it was just really good hard-working people that, in good faith, tried to come up with a way to fix the Supreme Court decisions without creating other problems.


And Anna, we'll get to you in a second, but a follow-up question because you mentioned the ADA notification act and someone submitted a question about that. There have been some form of the ADA notification act or going back a number of years, and during the last congress was the first time where a bill actually passed one of the chambers of congress. Six twenty.

So your thoughts on that type of legislation actually getting passed? The person wants to know. And is there anything similar to that that's out there, education and reform act?


Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, that vote in the House was a wakeup call to the disability community. There were a number of democrats who voted to support that law, because they thought that it was important to small business owners in their communities and they didn't -- they didn't see their vote as hostile to disability rights. They saw it as supportive of small business and kind of a common sense vote.

And it didn't seem to matter to them very much that the vast majority of disability organizations were opposed to it.

Now, there were a number of republicans who voted against it, which was also interesting. But when it came over to the senate, Tammy duckworth went around and she has some lived experience as a person using a wheelchair, a veteran, service-connected disabled veteran, and can she said to members, "I need you to commit to vote against this. I want a show of force here that will stop this thing dead in its tracks in the senate."

And she was successful in getting the entire democratic caucus in the senate to commit to vote against it. This is one of the bills that you would need 60 votes on to get to the ultimate vote on the bill.

So, you know, to me, part of that story is Tammy Duckworth cared deeply about this is was not going to let it happen on her watch.

I think it was a sign of our weakness as a community that it ever passed the House. That should never have happened.

You know, are there things that are in that bill that are legitimate things for us to make policy around? Yes, like, I feel like there's two things that small business owners need that are legitimate. One is to know what any relevant law requires them to do. Should not be hard for a small business owner to find out exactly what they need to do to be in compliance with the ADA and any other applicable laws. To the extent the ADA technical assistance network is not robust enough to provide that kind of tailored technical assistance to every small business owner in the country, let's make a more robust system to solve that problem. I don't know any disabled person that would disagree with that as a policy goal.

The other one which is harder, if you're sued for a violation of the ADA and you're a small business owner, you should have a type of insurance, if you will, as long as you did everything you were supposed to do and acted in good faith, someone is going to defend you on that lawsuit so you don't have to spend ten of thousands of dollars on that lawsuit. That could be an insurance product that small business owner can buy.

Those are two things to me that we should be able to make policy around.

But the idea that any business should be notified in writing with specificity of every violation that they're violating in the ADA before they can be sued, 28 years after the passage of the ADA, it just doesn't makes sense.

And it kind of blows my mind that a majority of the House of Representatives thought that that was good policy.


Anna, do we have any questions on the telephone at this time?


Thank you. I'm currently showing no questions in queue. As a reminder, if you have a question, press the star, then 1.


All right. While we wait to see if we have any questions, we'll continue with questions submitted online. This questioner says, Andy, you talked about the ADA, the broad civil rights law being placed on top of other existing civil rights protections and other disability programs. This questioner wants to know about the vocational rehabilitation system, and its impact on the employment of people with disabilities, and, you know, is the current system of states VR, is it working? Or is that something that the disability community and policymakers need to look at, along with the other things you talked about, the amount of money that's spent to keep people, keep people with disabilities in poverty and not working? What about the state VR system? Is that a working system?


So you want to answer that first? Or you want me to?


So I guess what I would say is, you know, the last bill that I worked on when I was with Senator Harkin was the workforce innovation opportunity act. Which we authorized we made some changes in the authorizing legislation that are now playing out including requiring a certain percentage of the state funds to serve young people while they're in transition, on the theory if you can provide VR services early in a person's career trajectory the return on investment on those services are going to be greater than if you wait until somebody's completely out of school before you start serving them in the VR system.

You know, I think part of it is a money thing. Again, I go back to SSI, SSDI, Medicaid and Medicare, $500 billion a year. Vocational rehabilitation, $4 billion a year.

So the program that is designed to build human capital and help people engage in the competitive labor market is a 4 billion-dollar program, not an entitlement. It has not grown significantly over the last 30 years.

And the entitlement programs have grown exponentially.

There's just something wrong with that picture.

I remember talking to David Mitchell who is the head of vocational rehabilitation in Iowa who is a wonderful guy. And really a visionary, thoughtful leader in the VR system. But I said to him, what's the budget for VR in Iowa for people with disabilities. He said about 26 million. I said what's the budget for Medicaid in Iowa serving people with disabilities, he said about 260 million.

I said if you were in charge of the 286 million of VR money and Medicaid money could you spend all of that money in people with disabilities participating more in a competitive labor force? And he said, absolutely.

To me, that's the conversation we need to have across the country. There's nothing wrong with the mission of VR but the problem is we've underinvested in it. Then there is also the problem of the culture of VR the part of it is underinvested and there's a culture of scarcity. VR counselors are trying to thread this needle serving the people with the most severe disabilities and also have the most successful employment outcome, a bizarre judjitzu. Where if your blind and you don’t have an amputation then you don’t matter as much to someone who is blind and has an amputation. It's just bizarre.

So my hope would be, over time, that VR would, in a more transformational way, embrace a mission where employers are as important to them as the VR client. They call that the dual customer in the VR world. But I feel like the employer costumer doesn't get anywhere near the attention as the VR client with disabilities.

In order to attract greater resources over time, they have to make themselves a vital partner to employers. You mentioned Peter at the beginning that I'm in town for the disability in congress. It used to be called the solution network. This is a network of employers that are committed to hiring people with disabilities and they're trying to learn from each other.

There are 2,000 people at this conference. Five years ago it was 600 people. Exponential growth.

The employer world is listening right now. They're saying, how do we get people to disclose a disability? How do we get people to ask for an accommodation? What is our best accessibility for a technology or build a pipeline for talent?

The VR community needs to be able to answer those questions in a user-friendly way for employers. I would argue right now they're not set up to do that for employers who are trying to hire people in multiple states and multiple markets. VR is a state program. They have this net, that counselors and state administrators created, but it's staffed by one person. And, you know, the demand, if the 2,000 people at this conference are any sign of the demand in the business community for pipelines for talent, VR needs to create a much more robust way to meet employers where they are and help them find talent in disabilities.


Yeah. VR needs to be part of the disability-in conference to really have that impact.

Question from -- this one just came in. So the first one, wants to know if you can talk about guardianship, conservativeship and any efforts you're aware of to address removal of rights for people to be able to voice choices where to live?


The last part, are they asking about where they live and whether they can vote? Or just have a vote in where they live?


Have a voice in where they live.


Got it. This is a hot issue right now both in the intellectual and developmental disability space but also to some degree in the mental health space.

You know, guardianship law is typically a state law issue. So this is playing out more at the state level than it is at the federal level, although there's definitely federal level interest in the topic.

But the basic problem is a lot of parenters are getting guardianship for their children with intellectual or developmental or psychiatric disabilities and are not really being educated on the alternatives to guardianship. I mean there are ways to preserve as much self-determination as possible for somebody with a significant mental disability and still kind of surround them with the right supports so that they can make an informed decision that is consistent with their vision and their values.

And basically, the key point here is so that they can make the same bad decisions as an adult that people without disabilities make. You don't want adults with disabilities to be prevented from making a decision that somebody else might say is a bad decision. That's part of self-determination.

So there's definitely an effort. There was a high profile case involving a woman in Virginia who had Down's syndrome who successfully petitioned to change the terms of her guardianship and to have more self-determination.

And the quality trust in DC was involved in that case and is involved in a national effort to provide technical assistance to people at the state level that are trying to do guardianship reform. It's a hot issue. I think it's a hot issue globally. There are provisions in the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities that call for guardianship reform. It's a good example of an issue that will become more important over the next 10-20 years.


Yeah, the person asked the question after follow-up, what about seniors here in the U.S.? It's not unique to the U.S., but it's happening in Europe and Asian countries that are aging, and the U.S. is the Baby Boom generation. But seniors facing this guardianship?


Absolutely, it's a life span issue. I'm sorry I didn't mention the issues that kind of as they play out for people as they age, but yes it's the same issue. I'm dealing with it in the context of my 89-year-old mother who wants to have self-determination and wants to write her own checks and do her own thing, but she's also more vulnerable to telephone solicitations and fraud and trying to get the right supports around her that work for her is no small feat.

But the issues are no unlike the issues supporting adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.


Another question that came in earlier about baby boomers but a different angle. This question has to do with baby boomers who have adult children with developmental and intellectual disabilities. And what's happening system-wide as these parents age and who have, you know, been the care givers for their children, are aging into a place where they're no longer able to care for their adult children with disabilities? And what is taking place? Is the system ready to have additional people with disabilities having housing needs, care giving needs?


Yeah, no, I mean, so the short answer is we have a crisis in our country that's getting worse over time, and there are a number of different aspects of the crisis. So one aspect of the crisis is the direct support workforce. We don't pay well enough the people who are providing hands-on direct support to people with disabilities. So in part because of that, there's a lot of turnover in that system, and there's a shortage in the people who are willing to do that work. You get paid more at a McDonald's, typically, than you do providing that kind of care.

There are lots and lots of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities being supported by their parents who would be eligible for long-term services and supports in the community if they weren't living at home with their parents, but the community system is not robust enough to meet their needs.

So the fallback for the parents in many cases are the siblings. You mentioned we're in an undisclosed location but in this building is the sibling leadership conference. That's another thing that's happening in the next 30 years. The parent movement as it relates to adults with disabilities is going to become more robustly the parent and sibling movement. I think some of these sibling leaders are going to play very large roles in trying to figure out a better system to support adults with long-term disabilities.

Interestingly, I think the sibling are also interested in the guardianship reform conversation because they want their siblings to have self-determination and to be able to make bad choices, more so -- I think that comes more naturally to a sibling than it does for a parent. It is easier for a sibling to say, yeah, my brother should be able to have the wrong girlfriend or eat the wrong fast food or whatever (laughs). Because that's part of being an adult.


Right. We have protective instincts for any type of loved one, but different if it's a sibling versus a parent.




This is a question that came in earlier about financial resources. I'll build on it a little bit. First, in general, the person is asking making the case to policymakers and politicians regarding finances. Any time you want new legislation, who is going to pay for it? Raise taxes?

But the example of housing in the disability integration act, from the disability perspective, there is an argument to be made that from a financial perspective it makes sense to provide, you know, services and in a less costly way when you invest in these things. It's making the argument to policymakers that investing in disability in the long term is the most cost effective. And not even talking about ethically that it's the right thing to do, but just from a financial perspective it's the right thing to do.


Yeah, I'm kind of intrigued by the reforms happening in Australia. I don't know, Peter, if it's something you heard about or read about. In Australia, they did a report from what they call their productivity commission which, I think, is kind of like our national economic council. It's a high-level well-respected primarily economic-driven instrument of government. They did an analysis of the status quo for people that had life-long disabilities and the kinds of supports they were getting and the impact that that was having on the family and the individuals.

And they basically said the current system is broken; it's not sustainable. And if it doesn't get reformed, lots of bad economic outcomes that are going to happen that affect the Australian economy.

So they built what is a broadly supported new approach to supporting people with disabilities which they call their disabilities scheme. The word "scheme" I guess in Australia does not have a negative connotation.


But disabilities scheme.

I've heard different briefings on it. As you can imagine, it's not something that's working perfectly. But under this scheme they're serving about a third more people and spending twice as much money. And the way they're doing that is by taxing people from -- they basically have added a new tax spread out across the whole population that everybody was willing to pay, in part because it was very bipartisan and in part because they all knew they might need this system for themselves at some point and they wanted a better system.

So I'm not saying everything decision they made in Australia was a good decision, but I think that frames an interesting frame. Could we help tell an economy story in this country of the burdens of our failed policies on families and individuals, the economic impact of that burden, kind of what the trend line look like moving forward, and build bipartisan consensus that the current system is unsustainable and try to design a new system that brings new money into it and serves more people, but actually brings more money, like, I like that combination of a third more people but twice as much money.

All that feels kind of right to me in terms of what would make a big difference in this country.

Obviously, the devil is in the details.

But I do think that kind of a broad conversation needs to happen.

And the 30th anniversary of the ADA is a good opportunity to talk about, you know, why do we have these programs? The definition of disability in for Social Security insurance and SSDI, do you know when that was written, Peter?


Probably' 30s?


1956. We said then to get a letter from the doctor, because the medical doctors are the experts, right?




Get a letter from the doctor saying in my medical opinion this person is unable to engage in substantial gainful activities. That's ridiculous on so many levels, the idea that a doctor will know what a person can achieve in a labor market makes no sense. It probably made more sense in 1956 then 2019, but I would argue it didn't even makes sense then. But that's the big system around which all these systems turn.


Talking about unemployment and the $500 billion spend on Medicare and Medicaid and SSI and SSDI, if a percentage of those individuals were working and paying taxes instead of receiving, you know, services --


Or who have they were running the program? Right? What if the Social Security Administration was pull of employees with disabilities running the program?


Absolutely. Speaking of employment, someone wanted to know your updates, thoughts, on the department of labor regulations, subminimum wages for people with certain disabilities? And where we are with that?


Yeah. That's an interesting issue. It feels like there's a shift happening that could bear fruit sometime in the next couple of years. I really want to give the national federation of the blind and Neil Ramono credit. I feel like two, the organization and Neil as the individual, have been pushing a number of years that it's just wrong to pay anybody with a disability less than a minimum wage. Section 14C, of an act, it says if somebody's productivity, because of their disability, is less than what would be considered the standard productivity level, then you can pay them less than minimum wage based on their lower productivity. That made sense when you were on a factory line producing widgets, but most jobs are not like that. And yet, we still have that rule.

So we have people argue about the numbers. Probably 400,000 people in the United States who are working in settings that have a 14C certificate because you have to have actually a certificate from the department of labor that enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act to be able to pay people less than minimum wage.

I don't know if all 400,000 of those people are being paid less than minimum wage, but they're working in a setting where they could be paid less than minimum wage.

You have the national council on disability pushing to out 14C. You have politicians that have a transition to competitive employment bill that would phase out 14C. There seems to be some interest in the department of labor; although, it's hard to know with secretary Accosta stepping down, how that might change, the political leadership might change the calculus, but while he was there there was an interesting in moving away from this.

Source America, it use to be called NISH it's a very important stakeholder. I have been told they've been committed to moving away from subminimum wage jobs over the next three years.

National industries from the blind moved away from that a long time ago.

I don't know. I'm seeing a lot of different things happening, bipartisan, that give me hope that, you know, certainly in the next ten years we will have decided with a broad consensus, we'll never have perfect consensus, but we'll have a lot more consensuses that this is an anachronism that needs to change and we need a way to transition the non-profits that run these programs from running subminimum wage programs to employment programs with job coaches and supportive employment and helping them do that so people aren't harmed.

The fear and the risk is if you just remove those jobs, some people will end up in day habilitation. You can argue whether they're better off in day habilitation not paid anything or working doing piecework getting paid 50 cents an hour. But that's the fear.

If you just get rid of it without replacing it with something else, some people are going to end up no better off and, arguably, worse off.


Without any services. Right. Anna, I'm going to check with you if there's any questions on the phone at this time?


Thank you. I'm showing no further questions in queue.


Excellent. Well, not excellent but we'll move on because we have lots of questions online.

Where do we want to go next? Health care. A person wanted to know just what's going on with health care. Obviously, the disability community had a big impact during the last congress when there were multiple efforts to change, repeal, replace, the affordable health care act and some of those pre existing conditions. There were efforts to move to bloc grants for states and so forth. So where are we with access to health care, which is critical for everyone, especially people with disabilities?


Yeah, well, you know, I think it's obviously an issue in the presidential election. You've got the court case where the kind of existential threat to the Obama care legislation is still playing out in the courts. We're not sure where that's going to end up.

You've got, you know, the effort to do Medicare for all, some of which is trying to address long-term services. Of course, Bernie Sanders bill has a long-term services supports component to it, which is positive.

It feels like Biden is kind of the leading voice that's saying, "Let's just improve Obama Care but not throw it out and start over."

And Sanders is the leading voice that says Obama Care was a compromise and it wasn’t ambitious enough and we need Medicare for all that works for everybody including people with disabilities.

I don't personally have a strong view on whether one of them is correct or one of them is wrong. Both of them in my view are much more thoughtful about the impact on poor people and the impact on people with disabilities than the current administration.

I guess my hope is that Obama Care has stood the test of time and we all learn from the last round of fights how hard it is to take away health care from people once they have health care.

So, you know, with the caveat that I don't know what the Supreme Court is going to do if this case makes its way to the Supreme Court, my hope is that whatever health care debate we have in the context of the next administration after the presidential election, whether it's the second term of Trump or the first term of whoever, that the "do no harm" thing is going to be front and center, and whatever tweaks we make it's going to be with the understanding nobody with health care is going to lose health care because of the piece of legislation that passes.

Whether that health care works for people with disabilities is a completely separate question.

I feel like if you look at the different players in the health care space, you have the managed care industry. You have the pharmaceutical industry. You have the business community. You have organized labor and various consumer and civil rights voices that are part of the discussion. I feel like there's a fight going on between the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, managed care companies are part of the insurance industry, and it's hard for the disability community to have a strong voice in that fight.

And I feel like what they're fighting about is us. Like, the people that cost the most money are the people that matter the most in that fight. Right? Who pays for the drugs? Who pays for the expensive medical care? Who pays for the expensive interventions?

And the system that we have involves dumping the expensive people into Medicaid. So if it's Medicare for all, my biggest question is how do we sustain it? And are we letting private insurance and businesses off the hook by putting everybody into a public option or a public system?

And I don't know the answer to the question, but I feel like that is a fundamental question for us.

It feels like it's hard to get our voices heard when it's the pharmaceutical industry fighting with the health insurance industry, which is how it's framed in our country.

Obviously, in other countries, it's different.


This was someone early on, when you were talking about enforcement and your comments on enforcement and better to educate people regarding rights. This person wants to know access to legal assistance. And here at the national network it's a question we get somewhat frequently, people looking for legal assistance. Obviously, there's the protection and advocacy services. But this person is commenting that, you know, there really aren't enough currently access to legal assistance, for whatever the issue may be, to someone with a disability.


Yeah, no, I think that's fair. We do have a federally funded protection and advocacy system. I worked for them in Boston, the disability law center, at the beginning of my career. I think it's now called the disability rights center of Massachusetts.

That system is not robust enough. It's very similar to what I said about the government. The private sector disability bar is not robust enough to meet the demand from every parent of a child with a disability who thinks their children's rights have been violated or every adult with a disability who thinks their rights have been violated.

I'm not sure that the answer is easier access to lawyers. I feel like the answer should be easier access to affordable dispute resolution. You know? Mediation. Other things where you can get an educated neutral who can kind of come in and hear the facts and help, you know, arrive at an outcome that is agreeable to both parties and does not ignore what's required by law.

Litigation is just an incredibly inefficient, expensive way to solve problems.




Maybe I sound conservative, but I would not be in favor to more access to lawyers and more litigation as a way to produce better civil rights outcome for our community.


Right. When you talk about mediation or something along those lines, you're hoping for a more expedient resolution and hopefully ending the discrimination, which is what we want to see.


Correct. I just know participating in a lawsuit is an incredibly pyschically draining thing to do. So if we can avoid that process, it seems more humane all the way around.


A couple more questions. This person wanted to know, as an attorney, the legal landscape, you talked about the courts, but is there anything that you're aware of at the, you know, circuit level or anything that's working its way that you talked about health care, any other areas where there's cases in the court system that has potentially a big impact?


Yeah, it's interesting. I feel like the Gorsach, Roberts, Alita, Clarence Thomas, Kavanaugh block within the Supreme Court may take us places we weren't anticipating. I don't know if you remember when Rehnquist was the justice in the Supreme Court they had all these federalism cases where they started questioning whether congress had authority to protect people's rights in a certain number of areas. I don't know if you remember the Garrett case, a woman with cancer. She sued -- it was a state hospital, to a state government, for violating her civil rights when they demoted her after she came back from chemotherapy. In a 5-4 decision they said congress did not have the authority to give her to sue the state for money damages, in part because discrimination against people with disabilities is rational and the Constitution only prohibits irrational discrimination.

It was a most bizarre decision by Rehnquist.

Those cases were called federalism cases.

I hope we've moved beyond that threat. I could see them having spending cases where they say IDEA is beyond congress' authority because it goes beyond the scope of the spending clause to tell people what to do with their federal dollars.

I wouldn't put anything past Gorsach. He seems to be a complete idealog, and enjoys overturning certain things. So I would just keep an eye on that, and what the impact might be for people with disabilities.

And for any civil rights constituency or protected class.

Like, I could definitely see them going after affirmative action more and maybe starting to upset the balance within higher education of how affirmative action plays out, at least in the area of race.

But I think the issue of the applicability of the ADA to the internet and to the technology world is something that's still somewhat unresolved in the courts and that's something that I would keep an eye on.

Obviously, one way to solve that would be to pass an affirmative law that made it crystal clear.




A lot of people would say if you even introduced that law you're kind of implying to the courts that you don't think the ADA already applies, which most of us do think the ADA already applies, and there's some case law that says that, and there's some guidance from the Department of Justice that says it, although it's pretty old guidance.

You know, Eve Hill when she was in the Department of Justice tried to get some clear rules around what is required for internet accessibility? And she wasn't able to get that out of the office within OMB around how expensive it is to write a rule. They couldn't come up with a cost estimate for it so they decided it was too reckless to write something because they didn't know how much it would cost. Which just seems lazy to me.


Right, the business community you would think would like that. They want to know what to do.




This question, could you just talk about the impact of NCD? Peeking of where we are, NCD was in Chicago this week, as well, yesterday, and today doing a public meeting. But she's talking about a couple of -- the significance of NCD.


Yeah, if you go back to when it was created, which I think is around 1984. If I'm remembering right. Then I think maybe it became independent in '86. I think it was originally part of the Department of Education and then it became independent. But it was the independent NCD, I guess it was called, the national council on the handicapped, back then, that called for an omnibus civil rights law, a bunch of Reagan appointees.

Then there was the ADA and a lot of folks were involved back then.

To me, having an independent entity that is -- has a critical mass of disabled voices as presidential appointees is kind of a really interesting, unusual thing in government. And it's resulted in a lot of kind of unvarnished recommendations that didn't go through an OMB clearance process that I think provides some clarity to the executive branch and congress about what the disability community wants.

And I see value in it.

Do I have ideas of how NCD could be made stronger and more effective? Absolutely. One of the things we did in the workforce innovation opportunity act is we made it bipartisan. Now instead of all the council members appointed by the president, some are appointed by the president and some are appointed by the speaker of the house and the senate majority leader and some by the minority in the house and the minority leader in the senate. I think that's better and results in more bipartisan and consistent recommendations across administrations but I know some people strongly disagree with that.

If you're asking the question, is NCD worth the taxpayer investment? I think the answer is yes. I mean, I look at what Neil Ramono is doing right now as the chair. He's a strong republican, working with democrats, to try to improve, you know, the 14C situation. He's trying to improve disaster preparedness and response. He's got a number of things, international things with the State Department and others.

I don't know who else is going to just pick up that mantle. And I do -- I guess for me, it's one of the few entities in the federal executive branch that has a true, deep understanding of disability culture and disability values and disability rights. And I would hate to lose that because, you know, people aren't listening to their recommendations enough.


Right. All right. Well, we have reached the bottom of the hour. Andy, this has been a great discussion. I appreciate your time. I appreciate you coming in and joining us today to have the discussion as we approach the anniversary of the ADA.

A quick reminder, folks, our August ADA audio conference session will be on August 20th. Insights on traveling with a mobility disability. That's the title of that session.

You can get information on registration by visiting

That is also where you will find the archive of today's session. We will have the audio archive posted within 24 hours and the edited transcript posted within 15 business days.



Peter, can I do a quick plug for AUCD, the organization I work for. If you're interested in learning more about our network, we're We have a cool thing called Tuesdays with Liz, where Liz from our staff interviews people around policy. She has a special coming out around the ADA anniversary, folks talking about the impact of ADA on their lives. I encourage folks to check that out. I'm Andy AUCD. Our network on Twitter is AUCD news.


Excellent. Andy is an excellent follow on Twitter. I follow him just to keep updated.

Thanks to everyone for participating. Thanks to Andy for joining us. Please complete your evaluations and it helps us.

Everyone enjoy your remainder of your Tuesday. We look forward to seeing you in August.