Have you noticed, it’s been awhile since I’ve said anything about the ABLE Act. Independence Day reminded me that I need to remind all of you and more importantly, Congress that is time to get this bill passed.
Congressman Yoder, (R-KS) an original ABLE Act 2013 cosponsor, invited us to be part of his parade supporters in the Lenexa Independence Day Parade. We got to meet his beautiful daughter and re-connect with some folks we have met in the various Congressional offices.
We marched and carried signs. Rachel made a new friend who walked with her and they tossed candy to the crowd. Before the parade began, we had the opportunity to say hello to Senator Roberts (R-KS), also an ABLE Act cosponsor, and get a photo.
I had met Kansas Governor Brownback (R-KS) when he was a U.S. Senator. As a very conservative U.S. Senator, he set aside politics and joined Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) in introducing the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act. The bill was signed into law in 2008 and amends the Public Health Service Act to increase the provision of scientifically sound information and support services to patients receiving a positive test diagnosis for Down syndrome or other prenatally and postnatally diagnosed conditions. Proof that Congress can do the right thing. Gov. Brownback had not met Rachel. I introduced them and we got our photo-op. I reminded him that I had met him when he was a Senator and thanked him again for championing this act. He chatted with me for just a couple of minutes about the act and how proud he was to have been able to get this piece of legislation signed into law. Our time was up. As a U.S. Senator he was a cosponsor of the ABLE Act for that Congress.
We didn’t see Senator Moran (R-KS) on the 4th. He was at a different parade. He is also an original cosponsor of the ABLE Act of 2013. Are you noticing a theme here? We have 75 of 100 Senators as co-sponsors on this bill. We have 365 United States Representatives on this bill. Today’s blog is also a history lesson. There are 435 representatives so we have overwhelming support for this bill that simply allows families of individuals with disabilities to save like all other Americans. We are continuously bombarded with ads telling us to save for college, retirement, long-term care and aging parents. Yet, we the people who are parenting those with disabilities are told not to save because we may jeopardize our needed government supports. Let’s not empower people with disabilities by allowing them to do what they can. Really, it makes no sense to anyone.
I think marching in an Independence Day parade is about as patriotic as it gets. The honor of celebrating our country’s birthday in a parade and to show support for a candidate is not something we take for granted. We explained to Rachel that in many parts of the world, people couldn’t do what we were doing. They might go to prison for speaking freely. As a female, she would have even less rights. I’m not sure that she totally understands that. So in a country where we can speak freely, worship freely, carry guns if we so choose, vote and campaign for our chosen candidates, a person with Down syndrome cannot save freely? I am quite sure that I do not understand that.
There is something terribly wrong with this picture. Do not let another year go by. Do not make us re-introduce this bill in the next congress. Next year, let me be singing let freedom ring as Rachel starts saving for that pink house. Give hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities another of the rights that other American’s have. Congressional leadership, send the ABLE ACT of 2013 to the floor today for a vote. Set politics and conservative and liberal labels aside. Do the right thing and #PasstheABLEAct now.
Rachel’s new friend is headed to New York to attend NYU. Coincidence or fate?