ABLE Act Amendments and NIH/CDC Funding

Congress is moving forward on our two key asks:

  • Reps. Harper and Engel have sent their cosigned letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking for support for research at the CDC and the NIH.
  • The ABLE Act amendments were introduced in the House and Senate.


The House appropriations letter was sent on April 6, 2017. You can view it at The following members of Congress signed the letter:

  • Gregg Harper
  • Eliot Engel
  • Robert Brady
  • William Lacy Clay
  • Ryan Costello
  • Joe Courtney
  • Mark DeSaulnier
  • Theodore Deutch
  • Vicente Gonzalez
  • Rick Larsen
  • Stephen Lunch
  • James McGovern
  • Kathleen Rice
  • Dave Trott
  • Peter Welch
  • John Yarmuth
  • Elizabeth Esty
  • Gerald Connolly

If your member said they would sign the letter but are not listed above, please reach out to them. There is still time for them to send their own letter. The Senate’s deadline for appropriations requests is now May 25, so Senators Stabenow and Isakson are waiting until closer to the deadline in order to get as many signatures as possible.

ABLE Act Amendments

The ABLE Act amendments have been introduced in both the House and Senate. The sponsors chose to introduce them as three separate bills. More information is available at . In short, they: adjust limits for those who work; rollover of 529 college savings accounts; and, raise the age limit for the onset of the disability.

If you have discussed these with your members of Congress or their staff, please let them know the bills are introduced, provide the link to more information (, and ask them for their support.

We are working with the ABLE Act coalition on the legislative strategy and will have more information and specific, strategic asks as we progress. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

Civics in 30 Seconds: Budgets

You hear a lot about budgets right now, such as, “The President wants to slash this and bump up that.” Beyond the hyperbole, what is really going on? Since 1974, each year Congress is supposed to pass a budget resolution (they don’t always do this), which tells the Appropriations Committee how much money they can spend in each bucket of spending. The President proposes a budget – this is a suggestion to Congress and signals the President’s priorities. The President does not sign the Congressional Budget Resolution, but he does sign (or veto) the appropriations bills.

For this upcoming fiscal year (2018), President Trump has only submitted a budget outline. A full budget is expected in May – which is typical the first year of a Presidential administration. In the end, the Congressional Budget Resolution establishes what are called 302(b) allocations – the total amount for each appropriations bill. Our priorities are in the Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations bill. There are 12 other bills.

Next time: Appropriations in 30 seconds

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If you have any questions, need help, or have feedback from the offices, please let me know at

Thank you.

Dan Whiting
Director of Communications and Government Relations

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Dan WhitingDan Whiting is the Director of Communications and Government Relations. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public policy and communications, serving on both the legislative and communications staff of a US Senator for 11 years, in the Bush Administration as Chief of Staff at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, supporting advocacy at a national trade association, and, for nearly five years, as a senior strategist for communication initiatives across the DOD.