NEW YORK, May 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association and leaders from its membership division, National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), will honor three members of Congress for their outstanding service to people with disabilities and veterans during the 3rd Annual Roll on Capitol Hill, June 22-25, 2014, Washington, DC.
Roll on Capitol Hill (ROCH) is United Spinal's annual legislative advocacy event that addresses issues that impact the health, independence and quality of life of individuals living with spinal cord injuries and disorders.
"These three legislators have actively lead the way on initiatives that will significantly improve the well-being of people with disabilities and disabled veterans," said Alexandra Bennewith, MPA, Vice President, Government Relations United Spinal Association.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) will be honored with the 2014 Disability Rights Champion Award. Senator Casey believes that every American deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care.
He is working to ensure that America is investing in biomedical research and new technologies that can improve the lives of people facing illness or disability, ensuring that America remains a leader in these fields.
- Senator Casey introduced the ABLE Act/Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2013 (S. 313) in the Senate, which allows for tax exempt savings accounts for people with disabilities to use towards employment, transportation and housing support.
- Each year, Senator Casey leads a bipartisan group of Senators to request robust funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principle federal investment in biomedical research.
- In the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), which is now law, Senator Casey advocated for improvements to the "de novo" process by which new medical devices are approved by the FDA.
The act simplifies the administrative process for manufacturers when submitting information to the FDA for review. This will benefit patients, who will gain access to new products faster.
- Senator Casey helped to secure a two-year extension for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the Senate debate on the new health care law, so that the program will not need to be extended again until 2015. Parents will be able to count on CHIP for their children throughout the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Al Green (D-TX 9th) will receive the 2014 VetsFirst Congressional Bronze Star Award for his efforts to increase opportunities for veterans living with disabilities to reintegrate into their communities.
United Spinal's VetsFirst program has worked very closely with Rep. Green to secure passage of the Housing Assistance for Veterans Act (HAVEN Act) (HR 3743).
This legislation would establish a pilot program to authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to make grants to nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate and modify homes of disabled and low-income veterans.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA 5th) will be presented with the 2014 Outstanding Congressional Leadership Award for her extensive leadership and vocal support of disability issues including:
- Original co-sponsorship of the ABLE Act/Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2013 (HR 647) in the House of Representatives, which allows for tax-exempt savings accounts for people with disabilities to use towards employment, transportation and housing support.
- Original co-sponsorship of TEAM legislation (Transitioning towards Excellence & Achievement in Mobility) that calls for improving transition outcomes and securing funding streams for young adults with disabilities in the areas of employment, education and empowerment.
- Sponsorship of the Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act, HR 942/S.948, which will create a separate category under Medicare for improved access to customized wheelchairs for those with significant disabilities.
- Support of legislation to increase the use of telehealth allowing for improved health care access for all individuals with disabilities, especially those living in rural areas.
- Former co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus and current co-chair of the Down Syndrome Caucus.
The following House and Senate legislators will also be recognized as Roll on Capitol Hill Congressional Co-chairs for their sponsorship and leadership of the Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act, HR 942/S.948, which improves access under Medicare for customized wheelchairs for individuals with significant disabilities.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI 5th)
Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY 14th)
ROCH attendees will have the opportunity to visit their Congressional representatives to discuss policies that affect their lives and protect their rights.
These policies include access to the medical equipment, prescription drugs, medical supplies, outpatient therapies and home and community-based supports and services they need; transportation funding for accessible pathways and improving access for housing modifications for veterans.
About United Spinal Association
United Spinal is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. It played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with SCI/D. United Spinal was instrumental in getting New York City to create sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation that has been used as a model for many United States cities.
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Alexandra Bennewith, MPA
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SOURCE United Spinal Association