RECOGNIZING AND HONORING THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SIGNING OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990 -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 29, 2005)
HON. SHERROD BROWN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FRIDAY, JULY 29, 2005
Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is one of the major civil rights victories of the past half-century. The ADA ensures that governments and businesses cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities in employment.
Passage of the ADA has widened access, deepened involvement, and raised the level of engagement for people with disabilities at every level of society.
This is particularly true in the government, where the voices of disabled Americans are heard and help shape new policies and laws.
We're not there yet--with hard work and diligence, we'll continue to move our country toward being a place where disabled individuals are treated like every other American.
But we're making some progress.
I believe the federal government should take a leadership role in advocating on behalf of disabled Americans. Social Security's disability insurance program is one important aspect of that leadership role.
Here in Ohio and nationwide, Americans seeking Social Security disability benefits wait more than 3 years on average for final decisions on their appeals. In some cases, they are losing their family car, their savings, and even their homes--while they wait for their government to act.
I support responsible proposals to reform the disability appeals processing system. I have urged congressional appropriators to provide appropriate funding to help the Social Security Administration reduce the appeals backlog and reduce the wait for disabled Americans.
Disabled Americans have a huge stake in the fight to strengthen Social Security's solvency. Plans to privatize Social Security put the income security of American workers at risk--especially workers whose careers are cut short by a disabling illness or injury.
With more than 230,000 Ohioans currently receiving Social Security disability benefits, there is too much at stake to play games with Social Security's future.
It's appropriate for us to gather to celebrate the ADA--an important first step. Working together, we can fix these and other roadblocks for the millions of Americans who live full lives every day with disabilities.