* Mr. CRENSHAW. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the bipartisan, bicameral Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2011. The ABLE Act is a much needed, long overdue, savings tool for individuals with disabilities.
* I would like to thank my colleagues in the Senate, Senator Casey and Senator Burr for their tireless efforts to introduce a companion bill in the U.S. Senate. I would also like to thank Representative McMorris Rodgers for her pivotal role in crafting this meaningful legislation.
* The federal government gives American families a helping hand in saving for the future. Accounts with special tax advantages help people save for college, retirement, healthcare and other life events--but people with disabilities have different challenges for the future, some face decades of expenses that most of us cannot even imagine. Yet, they do not have access to the same advantages that our tax code provides others.
* The average cost of raising a child with a significant medical disability is more than $1 million over the course of the child's lifetime. Continuing education, transportation, housing and medical care make up some of the predictable costs on that staggering bill. ABLE accounts would relieve some of that burden by allowing parents with disabled children or family members of disabled individuals to invest through a tax-deferred 529 account that could be drawn from for these future expenses. No longer would parents have to stand aside and watch as others use IRS-sanctioned tools to lay the groundwork for a brighter future. They would be able to do so for their children as well.
* The ABLE Act amends Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for the establishment of ABLE accounts for the care of family members with disabilities through tax-free savings accounts.
* Mr. Speaker, this bipartisan, bicameral legislation tackles the unfairness in our tax code head-on by creating tax free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. ABLE accounts will make long-term health, greater independence, and a fuller quality of life a possibility. No longer would individuals with disabilities have to stand on the sidelines and watch others use IRS-sanctioned tools to lay the groundwork for a brighter future.
* The cost to reform the U.S. Tax Code to offer ABLE accounts would be minimal, but the positive impact for individuals with disabilities, their families and others who are struggling to cope with an uncertain future would be sizable.
* We must move beyond the policies of the past that force individuals with disabilities to live in poverty. The ABLE Act allows individuals with disabilities to save, work, and earn just like any other American. As citizens of this great and prosperous country, we must speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Helping disabled Americans ``achieve a better life experience'' is a step forward toward equality with every other American--and it's a step worth taking.