Crazy huh? I know it does sound a little crazy but don’t be too fast to dismiss this idea. Consider this: the ABLE* Act (H.R. 647, S.313) (Achieving a Better Life Experience) has 370 House Cosponsors and 74 Senate Cosponsors and it still waits to go the floor for a vote. Doesn’t sound quite so crazy does it?
Rachel has always loved Veggie Tales as evidenced in these birthday party pictures. One of her first words was “Bob” as in Bob the Tomato. True story.
One of Rachel’s favorites was “Queen Esther.” In fact, for years she read the book of Esther every week when we traveled to church. One of my favorite parts of the story is based on the words found in Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther didn’t really want to be the girl who became Queen. The Jewish people and her own family were depending on it though. She wrestled with this but in the video her cousin Mordacai tells her that she was created for such a time as this. I say Congress was created for such a time as this.
Last week the ABLE Act went to the Senate Finance Sub-Committee. This was a giant step in a journey that began in 2006. ABLE’s next stop is House Ways and Means Committee for markup tomorrow. When I saw the announcement, I cried. Many people have worked tirelessly to try to get it passed. Every time we don’t get it passed, we start over in the next Congress. Right now it seems like we are headed to the finish line. It is time. This bill needs to quit sitting on Capitol Hill! It is a common sense bill that simply stated allows individuals with disabilities and their families to save for the future without fearing the loss of benefits. It is a bill about dignity and respect. As I told Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS) the first time I met him, “You should cosponsor because it is the right thing to do.” Last week found Self-Advocate and NDSS Board Member Sara Wolff giving testimony about why it needs to be passed. There were other powerful testimonies and not just from the Down syndrome community. My new catch phrase to add to the #passtheABLEAct is “the time is now.”
So back to Veggie Tales, Queen Esther and the ABLE Act. Congress, you were made for such a time as this. Do the right thing. Get this bill off of Capitol Hill and send the ABLE Act to the President now. It is past time to #PasstheABLEAct. It’s the right thing to do! You all have been called together for such a time as this.
*About the ABLE Act:
The ABLE Act would create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities to use for qualified expenses such as education, housing, medical, and transportation. The legislation has earned the support of more than half of the United States Congress (370 House co-sponsors and 74 Senate co-sponsors) and more than 100 local, state, and national disability advocacy organizations.
The legislation, first introduced in 2006, would amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code to 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The bill would supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, the Medicaid program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources.