Topics in the News: Disabled Rights

Bernie Sanders on Social Security : Nov 15, 2016
I helped create the Social Security Caucus

As a staunch defender of Social Security, I helped lead the fight against Republicans, and some Democrats, who wanted to cut this program--which is life and death for so many seniors and people with disabilities. Working with seniors' organizations, I helped create the Defending Social Security Caucus. The other senators in the caucus and I took on the Bowles-Simpson Commission, billionaire Pete Peterson and his organization, and a whole lot of other groups that wanted to cut Social Security in one way or another. In the end, barely, we managed to prevail--and Social Security was not touched.
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 45

Tim Kaine on Education : Jul 23, 2016
Individualized learning, not charter schools

Most policy debate these days seems to be about charter schools or testing. But I'm convinced that the most important reform has been under our noses since 1975, when legislation was passed to guarantee children with diagnosed disabilities receive individualized learning plans tailored to meet their specific needs. Let's use the insight gained through advances in educating kids with disabilities to leverage new technologies and teaching methods that can individualize learning.
Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source:, "Kaine Loves Schools," on 2016 Veepstakes

Elizabeth Warren on Welfare & Poverty : Apr 12, 2016
Strong safety net is needed now more than ever

The modern economy can be perilous, and a strong safety net is needed now more than ever. Strengthen disability coverage, retirement coverage, and paid sick leave. And for heaven's sake, get rid of the awful banker-backed bankruptcy law, so that when things go wrong, families at least have a chance at a fresh start.
Click for Elizabeth Warren on other issues.   Source: The Two Income Trap, by Elizabeth Warren, p.xxii

Evan McMullin on Civil Rights : Feb 15, 2016
Diversity--race, religion, nationality--is an American ideal

McMullin closed his speech with a reiterated emphasis on America's fundamental ideals. Along with the pursuit of happiness, McMullin listed "diversity" and "the protection of all people regardless of race, religion, nationality--and really, our respect for all people no matter who they are" as a fundamental American ideal. This ideal served as a backdrop for another cut at Donald Trump and Co. ("presidential candidates who attack Mexicans, Arabs, women, people with disabilities, and others"). McMullin echoed Hillary Clinton's claims that Trump's rhetoric was "doing the work of ISIS for it," and then went one step farther, claiming that it presented a larger threat to our national security than ISIS itself.

McMullin concluded, "I do think that you have some corners of the Republican party that maybe struggle with diversity, and that's a challenge. But it's also an area where the rest of us need to lead."

Click for Evan McMullin on other issues.   Source: on 2016 presidential hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on Social Security : Feb 11, 2016
Lift cap on wealthy: at $250,000 program lasts 58 years

We should lift the cap on taxable income coming into the Social Security Trust Fund, starting at $250,000. We expand Social Security by $1,300 a year for people under $16,000, and we extend the life of Social Security for 58 years. The wealthiest people will pay more in taxes. I will do everything I can to expand Social Security benefits, not just for seniors, but for disabled veterans, as well.
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 PBS Democratic debate in Wisconsin

Rick Santorum on Families & Children : Dec 15, 2015
FactCheck: Yes, ISIS declared fatwa to kill disabled kids

Santorum said, "This week ISIS put out a fatwa on disabled children and killed dozens of them because of their disability. Now, I am the father of a disabled child. I have known the face of evil. And I, if you give me the opportunity, will defeat it."

Could that be literally true? We checked; indeed it is: "ISIS has issued an order to exterminate children with Down syndrome, the Mosul Eye reported. The Sharia Board issued a fatwa to 'kill newborn babies with Down syndrome and congenital deformities and disabled children.' The group confirmed more than 38 cases where the terrorist organization executed babies born with disabilities using either lethal injection or suffocation. The victims were ages 1 week to 3 months, and killed in Syria and Mosul. ISIS claimed that children born with Down syndrome came from "foreign fighters" who married Iraqi & Syrian women. The order was issued by the terror group's Saudi judge Abu Said Aljazrawi." (NY Daily News, 12/14, reporting from "The Mosul Eye").

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on 2015 CNN/Salem Republican debate

Bernie Sanders on Social Security : Oct 18, 2015
Criminal to not have COLA increases for seniors

The Social Security administration said that there would not be a COLA [cost-of-living adjustments] for our seniors and disabled people. That's only the third time in the last 40 years. I think that's absurd.

Prescription drug costs have gone up. Seniors are paying more. We need to change the formula and we've got legislation in to do that, to ascertain what real cost of living is for seniors.

And I am going to fight very hard. You've got millions of seniors trying to get by on $13,000, $14,000 a year making choices between medicine and food. That is criminal. And we've got to change the formula by which COLAs are depended--are created so that seniors get a fair shake.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

Bernie Sanders on Social Security : Oct 13, 2015
Defend against chained CPI, and expand Social Security

Q [to CLINTON]: Senator Sanders would expand Social Security. What's wrong with that?

CLINTON: I fully support Social Security, and will defend it against continuing Republican efforts to privatize it.

Q: Do you want to expand it?

CLINTON: I want to enhance the benefits for the poorest recipients of Social Security.

SANDERS: When the Republicans in the Congress and some Democrats were talking about cutting Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans, for the so-called chained CPI, I q founded a caucus called the Defending Social Security Caucus. When you have millions of seniors in this country trying to get by--and I don't know how they do on $13,000 a year--you don't cut Social Security, you expand it. And the way you expand it is by lifting the cap on taxable incomes so that you do away with the absurdity of a millionaire paying the same amount into the system as somebody making $118,000. You do that, Social Security is solvent until 2061 and you can expand benefits.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Tim Kaine on Homeland Security : Sep 16, 2015
Help "Blue Water" veterans harmed by Agent Orange

Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to ensure thousands of Navy veterans from the Vietnam War, known as "Blue Water" veterans for their service in waters off the coast, who were exposed to the powerful toxin Agent Orange will be eligible to receive disability and health care benefits they have earned for diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act would clarify existing law so that Blue Water veterans would be fully covered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if they served within the "territorial seas," or approximately 12 miles offshore, of Vietnam. The bill would make it easier for the VA to process Vietnam War veterans' claims for service-connected conditions and alleviate a portion of the VA's backlog by reinstating presumptive coverage of Agent Orange benefits to these veterans.
Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: Kaine's Senate office website, during 2016 Veepstakes

Jill Stein on Health Care : Jun 25, 2015
What injures the climate's health also injures human health

The Green New Deal virtually pays for itself just in terms of the health savings alone because what injures the health of the climate also injures human health. We're so accustomed that we don't recognize it, but our major health epidemics-- from asthma, cancers, heart disease, lung disease and learning disabilities--have enormous ties to air pollution that results from fossil fuels. This has been documented by a whole variety of studies.

It was also documented by Cuba when their oil pipeline went down. Without changing their health-care system, when they zeroed out their fossil fuel emissions, Cuba got healthy. It was not only reduction of emissions; it was also that they transitioned to a sustainable and healthy food system, and a sustainable and healthy transportation system, and those are essentially the underpinnings of modern disease--between pollution and a poisonous, predatory food system and passive transportation.

Click for Jill Stein on other issues.   Source: Interview with Candice Bernd of

Tim Kaine on Government Reform : Jun 24, 2015
Voting Rights Advancement for marginalized groups

Sen. Kaine joined a group of colleagues to introduce the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), legislation that would restore and advance voting protections for all Americans. Since the Supreme Court ruling, states and localities throughout the country have passed sweeping laws that disproportionately suppress the voting rights of traditionally marginalized groups, like racial, ethnic, and language minorities, and the disabled. These laws have left voters without the protections they need to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.

"This legislation aims to reverse a troublesome trend of voter suppression and discrimination that still exists in parts of the country today," Kaine said. "By ending these discriminatory practices we can restore a fundamental right that makes up the fabric and essence of our democracy. [This act] would place greater transparency in the federal election process and ensure that the next generation of Americans will always be free to exercise their right to vote."

Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: Kaine's Senate office press release, "Voting Rights"

Rick Santorum on Welfare & Poverty : Apr 28, 2014
Tough love to end welfare as entitlement

Conservatives should not rail against properly incentivized government safety net programs for those whose lives have taken a bad turn, nor against the government programs that provide lifesaving care for the disabled, the chronically ill, & the elderly.

In the 1990s, I led Republicans working with Pres. Clinton to reform welfare in a way that preserved the safety net but got people back to work. Maybe it was tough love, but it was compassionate. Our goal was to encourage people to return to the labor force, enhance their job skills, and accept the responsibility (and earn the self-respect) that comes with employment. You need three things to avoid poverty--education, work, and marriage--and we tried to shore up all three. We ended welfare as an entitlement; we provided block grants to the states so that they could use the money in the most effective way, which included proving vocational training; and we strengthened enforcement of child support payments, among other provisions.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: Blue Collar Conservatives, by Rick Santorum, p. 58-9

Elizabeth Warren on Government Reform : Apr 22, 2014
Instead of voter suppression, do everything to help register

MA (along with many other states) had taken some heat for not following a federal law designed to make it easier for people to register to vote. The National Voter Registration Act requires states to offer people the chance to register to vote when they get a driver's license, which is why the law is usually called "Motor Voter." Seems sensible, and that part of the law was working pretty well. But since not everyone gets a driver's license--especially the disabled, elderly, and urban poor--the same law required states to invite people to register to vote when they applied for social services, such as veteran's benefits or food stamps. That's where MA had dropped the ball.

[During the 2012 election], MA was finally mailing out half a million voter registration cards. This issue is a direct shot at democracy. In many states, the Republicans have made voter suppression a regular part of their arsenal, chipping away at early voting. African American voting, student voting, you-name-it voting.

Click for Elizabeth Warren on other issues.   Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.251-2

Ted Cruz on Civil Rights : Mar 7, 2014
UN Treaty on Disabilities threatens US sovereignty

Even before taking office, Cruz made his influence felt in the Senate when he was invited to join the weekly lunch of the Senate Republican caucus on December 4, 2012--the day the full Senate was debating the United Nations treaty on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It seemed a fairly uncontroversial issue until Cruz expressed his opposition: "I was a newly elected senator who hadn't even sworn in yet, but I [said] the issues of U.S. sovereignty resonate powerfully with the American people," Cruz recounted.

To lobby for passage of the treaty, former Republican majority leader Bob Dole was brought in a wheelchair. Cruz explained, "I personally have been passionate about protecting U.S. sovereignty, that our laws should reflect American values, and not be governed by the laws or tribunals of foreign nations or foreign institutions. I urged my soon-to-be colleagues to protect U.S. sovereignty, and ultimately they did so.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: Cruzing to the White House, by Mario Broes, p. 73-4

Scott Walker on Civil Rights : Jan 22, 2014
A Better Bottom Line & Project SEARCH: job help for disabled

Project SEARCH is a year-long program for high school students with disabilities. One young woman I met has acute autism. Through Project SEARCH, she found a position sterilizing surgical equipment. This was a way to use her unique abilities to do a job that few others could do as well as she does. They identified her ability instead of getting hung up on her disability.

Tonight, I am pleased to announce the start of a year-long initiative called A Better Bottom Line--it's about employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Make no mistake, A Better Bottom Line is not about charity. A Better Bottom Line means helping both the individual and the company do well. We are looking for ways to help employers hire people who will add value to their organizations.

A few might say these individuals have disabilities, but I want to talk about their unique abilities in the workplace. In 2014, I will highlight employers, who find the unique abilities and hire people with disabilities.

Click for Scott Walker on other issues.   Source: 2014 State of the State Address to Wisconsin legislature

Scott Walker on Jobs : Jan 22, 2014
$35M for Wisconsin Fast Forward: technical skill training

Our Blueprint for Prosperity will increase the Wisconsin Fast Forward program by $35 million to focus on three new areas:
  1. Investment in our technical colleges to eliminate waiting list in high demand fields, like manufacturing, agriculture and Information Technology;
  2. Help high school students get training in high demand jobs through dual enrollment programs between our high schools and technical colleges;
  3. Support programs helping people with disabilities enter the workforce, in our Year of A Better Bottom Line initiative.
I ask that the funds already set aside in the Joint Finance Committee from the surplus at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation be used for the expansion of Wisconsin Fast Forward. Tomorrow, I will call for a special session to move forward with legislation to return this surplus to the taxpayers and to invest in our technical colleges, train workers for high-demand jobs, and support employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Click for Scott Walker on other issues.   Source: 2014 State of the State Address to Wisconsin legislature

Jeb Bush on Education : Mar 5, 2013
Education savings accounts: Fund students instead of schools

The best way for education policy to catch up with technology advances is to fund students rather than schools. After the Arizona Supreme Court struck down a voucher program for foster and disabled children under the state's Blaine Amendment, the Goldwater Institute proposed an innovative idea called education savings accounts. For any eligible student who leaves the public schools, the state each year deposits the student's share of state education spending in an account owned by the student's family. The accounts can be used for any educational expense, from private school tuition to distance learning, computer software, tutors, community college classes, and discrete public school services. Any money remaining can be saved for college.
Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p.193

Tim Kaine on Civil Rights : Oct 9, 2012
Strong supporter of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

I signed an executive order that banned discrimination against state employees based on race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, veteran status or disability. I also convened the Virginia Sexual Violence Commission and adopted many of their recommendations, which improved prevention and response to sexual violence in the Commonwealth. I have been a strong supporter of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which guarantees equal pay for equal work.
Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: 2012 Senate campaign website,

Mitt Romney on Education : Oct 3, 2012
Let IDEA and Title I funds follow disabled child

Q: Does the federal government have a responsibility to improve the quality of public education in America?

ROMNEY: Well, the primary responsibility for education is, of course, at the state and local level. But the federal government also can play a very important role. I agree with [the principles of] Race to the Top, not all of them, but some of them I agree with. My own view is, I've added to that. I want the kids that are getting federal dollars from IDEA or Title I--these are disabled kids or lower-income kids--I want them to be able to go to the school of their choice. So all federal funds, instead of going to the state or to the school district, I'd have go, if you will, follow the child and let the parent and the child decide where to send their student.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Rick Santorum on Families & Children : Aug 28, 2012
Severely disabled daughter is still life worth living

They came to see us--oh did they come--when they found out Karen and I are blessed with caring for someone very special too, our Bella.

Four and a half years ago I stood over a hospital isolette staring at the tiny hands of our newborn daughter who we hoped was perfectly healthy. But Bella's hands were just a little different--and I knew different wasn't good news.

The doctors later told us Bella was incompatible with life and to prepare to let go. They said, even if she did survive, her disabilities would be so severe that Bella would not have a life worth living.

We didn't let go and today Bella is full of life and she has made our lives and countless others much more worth living.

I thank God that America still has one party that reaches out their hands in love to lift up all of God's children--born and unborn--and says that each of us has dignity and all of us have the right to live the American Dream.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: 2012 Republican National Convention speech

Paul Ryan on Abortion : Aug 12, 2012
Life begins at conception, so protect unborn children

Social conservatives were skeptical of Romney's moderate record on abortion and family planning, but they see the young Wisconsin Republican running mate, a Catholic, as one of their own.

"Congressman Ryan has a deep, abiding respect for all human life, including unborn children and their mothers, the disabled, and the elderly," said the president of National Right to Life.

Ryan himself has said, "I support the rights of the unborn child. Personally, I believe that life begins at conception, and it is for that reason that I feel we need to protect that life as we would protect other children."

The National Right to Live Committee scores him as "a 100% pro-life voting record" ever since he entered the House in 1999. Abortion rights groups don't quibble with that assessment. "Rep. Ryan has cast 59 votes on reproductive rights while in Congress and not one has been pro-choice," said the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Joanne Kenen on

Marco Rubio on Families & Children : Jun 19, 2012
Improve state-provided services for kids with disabilities

The most difficult issue we addressed that year concerned the treatment of children with autism. The advocacy group Autism Speaks had targeted Florida as part of a national campaign to mandate insurance coverage for autism. I knew very little about the disorder before 2008, but that changed when Jeanette and I began to meet families of autistic children. We met with parents who couldn't afford the expensive early intervention their kids needed.

I impaneled a special committee charged with improving the services the state provided to children with disabilities. I made sure to appoint both Democrats and Republicans who had expressed an interest in the issue. They produced sweeping legislation that could have helped thousands of families.

The senate passed an autism-only bill. We had had to settle for helping only some of them. It wasn't good enough, but it was something.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.158-159

Rick Santorum on Welfare & Poverty : Jan 8, 2012
Poverty is not a disability; believe in ability to work

Look at welfare reform. I remember standing next to Sens. Pat Moynihan & Ted Kennedy, who were talking about how this was going to be the end of civilization; there would be bread lines; the horrific consequences of removing federal income support from mothers with children.

And we stood up and said, no, that creating that dependency upon federal dollars is more harmful than not believing in people and their ability to work. And so we stood up and fought, and went out to the American public. Bill Clinton vetoed this bill twice. We had hard opposition, but I was able to work together and paint a vision.

We made compromises, but not on our core principles. The core principles were: this was going to end a federal program; we were going to require work; we were going to put time limits on welfare. I stuck to those principles, and we were able to compromise on some things like transportation funding and some day care funding, all in order to get a consensus that poverty is not a disability.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate

Andrew Cuomo on Civil Rights : Jan 4, 2012
Improved services to 2 million residents with disabilities

We must transform the way we deliver services to our over two million residents with disabilities. We spend more than any other state on services and support provided both by our government and a vast array of nonprofit and private agencies. Yet New York ranks in the bottom quartile among states in serving adults with disabilities. This situation is fiscally irresponsible and morally unacceptable.

Many of the problems our disabled residents encounter are not the result of limited resources, but rooted instead in failures in the organization and management of services. We must develop a system that recognizes the potential of and the barriers faced by each individual we serve. We must focus on quality and prevention, and simplify and streamline access to services.

We must erase stigmas and ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are fully recognized and fully protected. In addition, we must do all we can to ensure the safety of those in our care.

Click for Andrew Cuomo on other issues.   Source: 2012 New York State of the State Address

Donald Trump on Social Security : Dec 5, 2011
Disability Racket: $25B in fraudulent disability filings

The top estimates are $2,340,000,000 in Medicare fraud over a decade--or 16% of America's entire national debt!

Then there's the disability racket. Did you know that one out of every 20 people in America now claims disability? That adds up to $170 billion a year in disability checks. Between 2005 and 2009, it is estimated that $25 billion were eaten up in fraudulent Social Security Disability Insurance filings. On and on, scam after scam it goes; as always, taxpayers are the ones getting stiffed.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 77

John Bolton on Families & Children : May 18, 2010
No internationalization of family & domestic issues

The internationalization of domestic issues appears in a host of social issues: abortion; family law and relationships between parent and child (the Convention on the Rights of the Child); and discrimination based on gender (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), race (The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination), or disability (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). The issue here is not, for example, appropriate protections against discrimination, but who should decide such questions. Should it be American citizens operating under our Constitution, or international agreements with nations that care little about fundamental freedoms or the importance of democratic debate? This is where the rubber truly meets the road on sovereignty.
Click for John Bolton on other issues.   Source: Obama is Endangering our Sovereignty, by J. Bolton, p. 41-42

Andrew Cuomo on Welfare & Poverty : Apr 13, 2010
2001 review: Focused HUD on poor working-class families

What were those "new market initiatives" [that Cuomo championed at HUD]? Here's what Sen. Jon Corzine had to say about them in 2001:

"HUD sought to restore its credibility by remaining singularly focused on improving services for the poor, low-income and working-class families, the disabled and senior citizens. It has transformed itself by launching new-market initiatives; integrating lower-income communities into the free market and creating renewal initiatives that spur private sector investment in both urban and rural communities. HUD has also helped America reach its highest homeownership rate ever--67.7%--and in the process helped African-American and Latino households attain record levels of homeownership."

HUD's "new market initiatives" required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to significantly increase the number of loans purchased involving low-income borrowers: Borrowers who couldn't exactly afford the mortgages they were being offered. Borrowers who are now facing foreclosure in droves.

Click for Andrew Cuomo on other issues.   Source: Take Back America, by Dick Morris, p.192-193

Mitt Romney on Jobs : Mar 2, 2010
Incentivize hiring jobless: cover $2000 in training costs

I have seen that the best training often occurs in the workplace where it is targeted to a job that is actually needed. That is one reason why I favor programs that incentivize employers to hire and train people who have been out of work for an extended period of time, who have disabilities, or who have been affected by the failure of a company or industry. As governor, I was able to establish a program that paid employers $2,000 toward the cost of training anyone they hired who had been out of work for more than a year. For all the benefits that productivity improvements bestow on the many, we need to make sure that the cost is not borne by the few.
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.116

Marco Rubio on Principles & Values : Feb 18, 2010
From poor Cuban family; privileged to be a citizen in US

As I reflect on all the opportunities that I've had in my life, it often reminds me of my grandfather. My grandfather was an enormous influence on me growing up. He was born in 1899 to a poor, rural family in Cuba. When he was a very young man, he had polio, and it permanently disabled him. So he couldn't work the farm, and so they sent him away to school. In fact, he became the only member of his family that can read.

When I was growing up my grandfather lived with us, and told me: Because of where he was born and who he was born to, there was only so much he was able to accomplish. But he wanted me to know that I would not have those limits, that there was no dreams unavailable to me. And he was right.

See, I was not born to a wealthy or connected family. And yet I have never felt limited by the circumstances of my birth. Why did my dreams have the chance that his didn't? Because I am privileged. I am privileged to be a citizen of the single greatest society in all of human history.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Speech to 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference

Jeb Bush on Social Security : Dec 11, 2009
Social service benefits via private & faith-based companies

The Bush social services reform program [was] designed, in large part, to enable private companies, nonprofit organizations and faith-based organizations to provide services that had traditionally been provided by the state: economic benefits to low-income citizens, protective services to children at risk of harm, community services to people who suffered from developmental disabilities, and medical services to poor citizens.

The larger issue regarding the faith-based initiative was that virtually no effort was made to evaluate the activities of the organizations that received public money or to compare their costs and quality of service with those of other service providers. Analysis was impossible and as a consequence the state knows very little about the relative advantages and disadvantages of using faith-based organizations to deliver public services.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p.144-6

Sarah Palin on Civil Rights : Nov 17, 2009
Fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

With just two weeks to go before the election, I was scheduled to present our policy on special needs issues. I remembered my first campaign promise: that if John and I were elected, the special needs community would have an advocate in the White House. I could write the speech myself, and weave in a lot of my family's experience with Trig.

"There are the world's standards of perfection, and then there are God's, and these are the final measure," I said. "And the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are most vulnerable." I went on to discuss specific policies a McCain-Palin administration would implement for special needs kids. For example, we would reprioritize some of the $18 billion a year Congress spends on its pork projects and instead fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. "We're going to get our federal priorities straight and fulfill our country's commitment to give every child opportunity and hope in life."

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, p.321-323

Tim Kaine on Health Care : Jan 14, 2009
Invest in community-based mental health care

My budget proposal preserves care for the mentally ill. In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, we made significant investments last session in community-based mental health care. This budget protects the investments we made together. And, the budget continues our transformation from a state that over-relies on institutional care of the mentally disabled to the more effective and humane strategy of expanding services that people can receive in their own communities.
Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: Virginia 2009 State of the State address

Sarah Palin on Civil Rights : Jul 28, 2008
ADA brings expanded freedom to Americans with disabilities

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Proclamation, “ADA”

Mike Huckabee on Abortion : Jan 30, 2008
I’m pro-life, but have no opinion on Justice O’Connor

Q: Was O’Connor the right choice?

A: History will have to determine that. We need to talk about why the issue of right-to-life is important. For many of us, this is an issue of principle and conviction. It goes to the heart of who we are as a country. If we value each other as human beings & believe that everybody has equal worth, and that that intrinsic value is not affected by net worth, or ancestry, or last name, or job description, or ability, or disability, then the issue of the sanctity of human life is far bigger than just being anti-abortion. It’s about being pro-life and exercising that deep conviction held by our founding fathers that all of us are equal & no one is more equal than another, recognizing that once we ever decide that some people are more equal or less equal than others, then we start moving that line, & it may include us some day. I’m pro-life. I value every human being. I would always make every decision always on the side of life every time I could, without equivocation

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley

Barack Obama on Health Care : Oct 30, 2007
Added 20,000 children to Illinois healthcare

Obama also has a record of success on health care in Illinois. He sponsored the legislation expanding Kid Care and Family Care that added 20,000 children to the state health insurance program. Obama was a cosponsor of the Senior Citizen Prescription Drug Discount Program Act, which enabled senior citizens and the disabled to obtain prescription drugs at discount rates. Obama also cosponsored smaller reforms such as SB989, which allowed Medicaid money to care for mentally or emotionally disturbed children as outpatients rather than the far more expensive option of institutionalizing them, and SB1417, which required all insurance companies operating in Illinois to pay for screenings of colorectal cancer.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p.148

Elizabeth Warren on Health Care : Oct 15, 2007
Medical problems cause 750,000 bankruptcies each year

Should you purchase a disability insurance policy, just in case? Or long-term care insurance? When everyone is healthy, the thought of disability can seem like a remote possibility, a bad dream that strikes others, not busy families with young children. But the fact remains: Medical problems send three-quarters of a million families to the bankruptcy courts each year. So think about more insurance. If you never use it, then count yourself lucky.
Click for Elizabeth Warren on other issues.   Source: The Two Income Trap, by Elizabeth Warren, p. 166

Barack Obama on Civil Rights : Aug 26, 2007
Strengthen the Americans with Disabilities Act

Obama is committed to strengthening and better enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Obama believes we must restore the original legislative intent of the ADA in the wake of court decisions that have restricted the interpretation of this landmark legislation.

One of the most devastating aspects of Hurricane Katrina is that most of the stranded victims were society’s most vulnerable members, including Americans with disabilities. Too many states and cities do not have adequate plans in place to care for special-needs populations. Obama passed legislation to require states to properly plan the evacuation of special-needs individuals.

Obama understands that children with special needs require meaningful resources to succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Obama is a strong supporter of increased funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Presidential campaign website, “Flyers”

Joe Biden on Jobs : Aug 9, 2007
No job discrimination by sexual orientation

Q: Currently, there is no federal law protecting individuals from job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. As president, would you support and work for passage of a federal bill that would prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation an gender identity?

A: Senator Biden opposes employment discrimination of any kind--including race, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation. He has consistently supported the Employment Non Discrimination Act to prohibit employment discrimination on basis of sexual orientation.

Q: Many gay & lesbian people serve in the federal government but do not receive the same health insurance and other employee benefits of married couples. Do you support domestic partner coverage for gay and lesbian employees of the civilian federal workforce?

A: Senator Biden believes that federal employees in legally recognized, committed relationships should not be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate--written questionnaire

Mike Pence on Civil Rights : May 4, 2007
Voted against expansion of hate-crime protection

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to extend hate-crime protection to people who are victimized because of their sexuality. But the most immediate effect may be to set up another veto showdown between Democrats and President Bush. By 237 to 180, the House voted to cover crimes spurred by a victim's "gender, sexual orientation, gender identity" or disability under the hate-crime designation, which currently applies to people who are attacked because of their race, religion, color or national origin. Pence called the bill "unnecessary and bad public policy." While he finds racism and sexism "abhorrent," Mr. Pence said, the bill's language is so broad that it could encroach on free speech.
Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: New York Times, "Hate Crime," By David Stout

Marco Rubio on Education : Apr 30, 2007
Voted for more scholarships for private schools

Rubio voted YES on HB7145, Private School Scholarship Program Expansion Act (passed House 84-34):
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Florida state legislative voting records

Tim Kaine on Homeland Security : Jan 10, 2007
Expand job benefits for members of the Virginia Guard

This session, we can show our gratitude by working together to better serve those who serve us. I've offered legislation to expand benefits and job protection for members of the Virginia Guard who serve critical state missions at the request of the Governor. We should also expand benefits for family members of active duty personnel who are disabled or killed in service to their country.
Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: 2007 State of the State address to Virginia Assembly

Newt Gingrich on Health Care : Sep 22, 2003
Tax credits for developing technology for disabilities

Medical advances are enabling people to live longer than previously possible with such conditions as spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, or Downs Syndrome. In addition, increasing numbers of people are now living into their eighties and beyond. Beyond the ethical obligation of caring for our country’s most vulnerable population, we must address the health of people with disabilities if we are to make any progress in controlling healthcare costs.

A basic principle for a 21st Century System of Health and Healthcare for people with disabilities is to keep these individuals independent for as long as possible.

We should be exploring tax credits and other financial incentives to encourage companies to develop the right technologies for people with disabilities.

Now, people who can benefit from technologies are often prevented from acquiring them because they are expensive and insurance companies are reluctant to pay for them.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Saving Lives and Saving Money, by Newt Gingrich, p.196-197

Jeb Bush on Families & Children : Jan 22, 2002
Increase KidCare; increase developmentally disabled services

Health and human services spending has increased by a record $4 billion. For example, under our KidCare and Medicaid budget recommendations, 1.3 million children will be receiving health care coverage, up 69 percent from four years ago. The number of developmentally disabled being served has increased by 330 percent.
Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: State of the State address to 2002 Florida Legislature

Jeb Bush on Families & Children : May 31, 2001
Parental consent over government intrusions into families

    While I support the idea of providing comprehensive services for the early identification and intervention of learning disabilities, I have a number of concerns with Senate Bill 1018, grounded on the potential for excessive intrusiveness of government in the lives of Florida’s families.
  1. The bill is silent on the issue of parental consent for referral, assessment and intervention services for identified children and their families. Referrals of “high risk children” are automatic and may be interpreted to be without parental consent.
  2. The absence of a public records exemption to protect the privacy of families and children impacted is also problematic.
  3. The Florida State Laboratory will be required to purchase an expensive piece of equipment to process required Tandem Mass Spectrometry tests of all newborns in the three demonstration counties.
  4. And finally, this program is to be provided at an enormous cost to taxpayers, despite services already provided by the state.
Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Veto notification on Senate Bill 1018

Jill Stein on Environment : Jan 1, 2000
Weak scientific understanding of effects of toxic exposure

Click for Jill Stein on other issues.   Source: In Harm`s Way, by Jill Stein et al, pp. 1-7

Hillary Clinton on Social Security : Feb 17, 1999
Social Security protects families, not just retirees

Like many Americans, I got my Social Security card when I was a teenager and applied for my first job. Then, of course, I didn’t understand that my wallet-sized card represented a commitment that every American could grow old with dignity. I also didn’t understand that Social Security is not just for the elderly-and not just for retirement. Nearly 1/3 of its beneficiaries are either disabled, widows, widowers or surviving dependents. Social Security is a family protection system.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: “Talking It Over” column

Hillary Clinton on Families & Children : Jan 6, 1999
Help “sandwiched” parents care for elderly plus kids

Millions of Americans take care of aged or disabled loved ones every day. Record numbers remain at home with family and friends, putting more and more working adults in the position of nurturing their children while, at the same time, nursing their aging parents. We call this group the “sandwiched” generation.
There is no simple solution to the problem of caring for our aging and disabled loved ones. These initiatives offer a solid first step, and I am gratified by the support they have received from diverse advocacy groups and members of both political parties.
The senior boom is one of the most important challenges our generation and our children will face in the coming century. It is up to us to prove that the infirmities of age need not be the indignities of age. It is up to us to protect our children and grandchildren from the unsustainable burden of caring for us. It is up to us to do everything in our power now to lift the quality of life for every American family.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: “Talking It Over” column

Jesse Ventura on Education : Jan 1, 1999
Mainstream disabled students

The best chance disabled students have for productive adult lives comes from being mainstreamed among other students. My daughter Jade is living proof of that. She has a disability, but we have made sure that she has gotten the same kind of exposure as other kids her age. There are a few exceptions; there are students whose special needs are such that mainstreaming won’t work for them. But in the majority of cases, mainstreaming should be supported, encouraged, and facilitated for disabled students.
Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Ain’t Got Time To Bleed, p. 30

  • Additional quotations related to Disabled Rights issues can be found under Civil Rights.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Civil Rights.
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