The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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President Obama Signs the ABLE Act into Law

Washington, DC, December 19- When President Obama signed the Tax Extenders package into law earlier today, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act officially was signed into law. Following overwhelming passage in the House of Representatives (404-17) on December 3rd, the ABLE Act passed the US Senate as part of the Tax Extenders Package Tuesday night. The ABLE Act is the most bipartisan, bicameral bill that went before the 113th Congress.

No other bill before the 113th Congress equals or surpasses the ABLE Act’s bipartisan and bicameral support - 77 United States Senators, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and the bill’s Senate Champions Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC). In the House, 381 Representatives, including a dedicated set of House Champions - Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX).

“Passage of the ABLE Act is a major victory for those with disabilities and their families,” Casey said. “This bill reminds us all that those with disabilities have a lot of ability. Soon those with disabilities and their families will be able to better save for their long-term care.”

“This is a bill that will allow everyone, including my son Cole, to be able to save for the future,” said McMorris Rodgers. “It is time that we end the discrimination in this country and let those with disabilities have the same financial freedom as their peers without disabilities.”

NDSS has been one of the leading advocacy organizations behind the ABLE Act for over eight years and four Congress. Last week, ABLE House Champions renamed the landmark legislation to honor NDSS’ late Vice Chairman and chief ABLE Act architect Stephen Beck Jr., who passed away suddenly just days after the House passage. “The ABLE Act’s initial concept grew out of an idea around Steve Beck’s kitchen table, and now will be forever marked with his legacy,” said NDSS Chairman Rob Taishoff.

“The ABLE Act proves that people with disabilities and their families can make a difference. We fought long and hard to make the ABLE Act a reality for all people with Down syndrome and their families in this country,” said Sara Weir, NDSS President. “This landmark legislation puts a stake in the ground that people with disabilities, for the first time ever, can work and save money for the future.”

Before the bill was passed, people with disabilities could not have more than $2,000 worth of assets before critical government support programs they need are cut off.  In the face of enormous medical, transportation, and education costs, that amount does not extend very far and certainly hinders independent living.

“No longer will people with disabilities have to face unfair financial strains due to outdated laws,” said Sessions. “This was a victory for those in this country with disabilities and their families.”

Now that the President has signed the bill into federal law it will be up to the individual states to enact it. States such as Maryland, Pennsylvania and California have already been in talks about enacting the ABLE Act at the state level.

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