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The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act Overwhelmingly Passed in US House of Representatives Today

After Eight Years, Congress’ Most Bipartisan Bill Passes Set for Senate Vote and Then Onto the President’s Desk

Washington, DC, December 3- The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647/S. 313) went to a vote on the House Floor today. The ABLE Act was passed by a vote of 404 Yay to 17 Nay.  The passage of the ABLE Act through the House of Representatives clears the path for a Senate vote and onto the President’s desk.

No other bill before the 113th Congress equals or surpasses the ABLE Act’s bipartisan and bicameral support - 74 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). The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), Autism Speaks and more than 100 other national organizations have endorsed the bill, which will ease the financial strain on families who have loved ones with disabilities.

“We are very pleased by the outcome of today’s vote and look forward to our colleagues in the Senate passing this bill in the very near future,” said Representative Ander Crenshaw (R-FL). “This has been a bill that we have worked very hard of for eight years and I am very proud that so many people see the importance of the legislation.”

“Today, the House passed legislation that will empower Americans with disabilities to take charge of their futures. The ABLE Act is based on the ideals of equity and fairness and the ability of every child to reach his or her full potential,” said Van Hollen. “Passage of the ABLE Act shows what’s possible when Democrats and Republicans work together to find common ground to improve people’s lives, and I’m proud to be part of the bipartisan effort to get this initiative over the finish line.  But most of all, today’s action in the House is a testament to the tireless advocacy of families across the country who told their stories and never gave up.”

More than 100 disability rights groups including the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), Autism Speaks and others support the ABLE Act.

“This is a monumental, landmark bill for people with Down syndrome and our families,” said Sara Hart Weir, NDSS Interim President. “This bill will change the way that families can save for all their children and adults with Down syndrome and will ease the unnecessary burdens that are placed on families - all while allowing people with Down syndrome to work and save for the future. We look forward to it going to the Senate floor for a vote and its eventual signage into law." 

“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.”

Under current law, they cannot 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. “Today’s vote was a victory for those in this country with disabilities and their families.” 

The bill will now go to the Senate where a vote is expected next week.

“I am incredibly pleased that the House passed the ABLE Act this evening.  Families of individuals with disabilities often face overwhelming financial burdens associated with the expensive costs of healthcare, education, housing and transportation,” Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) said.  “The ABLE Act will make it easier for parents of disabled individuals to invest in their child’s future, thereby opening the door to a world of opportunities. I am confident the Senate will swiftly pass the ABLE Act.”

 

 

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