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US Senate Leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell Team Up to Back the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)’ number one legislative priority before the 113th Congress

Washington, DC - March 24, 2014.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) signed on to the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (S. 313/H.R. 647). US Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), and US Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), are the newest cosponsors of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (S. 313/H.R. 647). The ABLE Act has amassed the support of 68 cosponsors from the US Senate and 345 cosponsors from the House of Representatives.

In a press release from Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), thanked Senators Reid and McConnell for their support. “I want to thank Senators Reid and McConnell for signing on to the ABLE Act. Having their support is critical to getting this legislation passed, and I’m hopeful that we’ll do just that in the coming months,” Senator Casey said. “The ABLE Act now has support from a strong majority in both parties because it is a commonsense approach that will help families of children with disabilities save and pay for their long term care. Passing the ABLE Act will help give these families peace of mind in knowing that they can better save for their loved ones.” The ABLE Act now has having the support of the two Leaders in the Senate gives the ABLE Act a stronger chance of being passed.

NDSS board member and author Sara Wolff states, “Families, like mine, need to rest assure that they can equally care for their children and adults with disabilities, just like they can for their other children and family members. Just because I have Down syndrome, that shouldn’t hold me back from achieving my full potential in life.”

“The news today that both Senate leaders have agreed to cosponsor the ABLE Act is giving new hope to the severely disabled and their families across America,” said Senator Burr. “ABLE is a commonsense piece of legislation that helps parents of the severely disabled save and prepare for their child’s lifetime of expenses.  With such broad bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, it is my hope that 2014 is the year we finally pass the ABLE Act.”

NDSS is one of 100 organizations that are championing the bill. The New York Times in a recent editorial urged Congress to move the bill which is currently being "scored" by the Congressional Budget Office to assess its cost impact on the federal budget.

NDSS Vice President of Advocacy and Affiliate Relations Sara Hart Weir said: “There is no other bill in the U.S. Congress that has as much bipartisan, bicameral support as the ABLE Act. People with disabilities can’t wait any longer for the passage of the ABLE Act. Passing this landmark legislation will go a long way to help people with Down syndrome and other disabilities realize and achieve their own hopes, dreams, and aspirations.”

By enacting the ABLE Act, Congress will not have to create a new program or give handouts.  Congress will give the disability community the chance to provide and save for themselves through savings tools that all other Americans have access to today. The ABLE Act would amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. This will ease financial strains felt by those individuals with disabilities by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, and transportation.

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