The candidates’ accomplishments and future plans for people with disabilities

Information courtesy of RespectabilityUSA

RespectabilityUSA is asking candidates on both sides of the aisle to answer questions about disability issues. So far, they have received complete responses from Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.  The following is a brief summary of the complete survey responses. (Chris Christie and Ben Carson responded, but did not complete the survey.)

Jeb Bush:

Accomplishments for people with disabilities:

  • Supported and signed a law creating the state’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities
  • Pressed for the creation of the McKay Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships for students with disabilities so they can attend an eligible public or private school of their choice
  • Increased property tax exemption for disabled veterans
  • Invested in Medicaid Waivers

Future plans:

  • Proposes pro-growth policies designed to achieve four percent growth, create 19 million new jobs and increase middle class incomes
  • Ending Obamacare
  • Transforming the welfare system so that the dignity of work is given far greater value
  • Reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs to better serve veterans with disabilities
  • Replacing current major means-tested welfare programs, including Section 8 and public housing programs, with Right to Rise grants to states.
  • States will have the opportunity to develop programs and benefits that best meet the needs of their citizens. Additional flexibility will also allow states to better target assistance.

Hillary Clinton:

Accomplishments for people with disabilities:

  • Cosponsored ADA Amendments Act of 2008
  • Cosponsored Individuals with Disabilities Education Reauthorization Act
  • Cosponsored IDEA Full-Funding Act of 2003
  • Voted to increase funding and discretionary funding for IDEA
  • Cosponsored Mental Health Parity Act and Addiction Equity Act of 2008
  • Voted to increase mental health care for veterans by $500 million
  • Helped develop and co-sponsored Autism legislation that authorized over $1 billion in funding for research, early detection, and early intervention

Future plans:

  • Autism Works Initiative, a post-graduation transition plan for every student with Autism aging out of school-based services and a public-private partnership with employers designed to get more employers invested in providing competitive employment opportunities for people with Autism
  • Will push for passage of the bipartisan Transition to Independence Act, which would establish programs in 10 states focused on helping people with disabilities expand employment opportunities
  • Will build on proposals by President Obama, including demonstration grants that can spur new approaches to early intervention to improve the employment picture for people with disabilities
  • Enforcing mental health parity laws
  • Will increase housing opportunities for youth and adults with Autism by funding projects that help individuals with Autism live independently in their communities
  • A five-year $275 billion dollar infrastructure plan that will ensure that Americans across the country, including Americans with disabilities, have access to affordable, public transportation

Bernie Sanders

Accomplishments for people with disabilities:

  • Cosponsored ADA Amendments Act of 2008
  • Fought against $500 billion in Medicaid cuts
  • Supported the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act
  • Cosponsored Safe Schools Improvement Act
  • Supported efforts to reduce schools’ use of seclusion and restraint
  • Cosponsor of Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act

Future plans:

  • Fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and vocational education programs
  • Expand funding for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs
  • Rebuild America Act would invest $1 trillion rebuilding nation’s infrastructure and creating 13 million jobs
  • Increasing federal investments in special education teachers and support staff
  • End the tax penalty that people who successfully discharge their loans due to total permanent disability face
  • Will protect and expand the Social Security Disability Insurance program
  • Provide a path to higher education without debt by making public colleges and universities debt and tuition free
  • Move towards a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare program

Read the full responses from the candidates at .

RespectabilityUSA works to reshape the attitudes of American society so that people with disabilities can more fully participate in and contribute to society, and empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream. Learn more at

Doug Schmidt
Act Team Coordinator
The Fifth Freedom Network

Fifth Freedom is a not-for-profit organization that strives at all times to be non-partisan. The content of this post is provided for information purposes only, and does not express or imply support for any particular political party, politician, candidate for office, or piece of legislation.

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