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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Action Alert: Act Now to Strengthen America’s Independent Living Program!

ILA protest sign 2011NCIL needs your help. We are calling on you, our greatest weapon, in the fight to advance the Independent Living Movement. What is at stake today is the legislation that establishes Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils. To move beyond the status quo for IL, we must reauthorize the Rehabilitation Act now.

NCIL made historic gains last year pushing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which contains the Rehab Act, through Congress. In order to better serve CILs and SILCs, NCIL has identified several priorities we would like to see included in reauthorization. Of those priorities, creation of an Independent Living Administration (ILA) remains our chief concern.

America needs an ILA and through your efforts, the ILA was written into legislation in both the House and Senate! However, because a new Congress began this year, we must push hard to get this legislation moving again. NCIL’s focus is on the House of Representatives. 

The good news is that Congressman Tierney (D-MA) has just reintroduced a bill to reauthorize WIA and the Rehab Act (H.R. 798), with included language establishing the ILA! The bad news is that another bill has been introduced by Congresswoman Foxx (R-NC) called the “SKILLS Act” (H.R. 803), without included language establishing an ILA.

Not only does the SKILLS Act leave out the creation of an ILA, it doesn’t do a single thing to update or improve anything regarding CILs and SILCs. This legislation is extremely important, and the creators of the SKILLS Act have thus far ignored CILs, SILCs, and the concept of Independent Living altogether.

Take Action

Call the House Education & the Workforce Committee: (202) 225-4527

We need NCIL members to call the House Committee on Education & the Workforce and tell them that the SKILLS Act must include language updating CILs and SILCs, and that it must establish an Independent Living Administration.

NCIL members should make no mistake: H.R. 803 does absolutely nothing for us. No effort was put into updating Independent Living provisions, and we want our members to let the Committee know how unacceptable this is to our community and Americans with disabilities.

There is a markup hearing on the SKILLS Act that will likely be held Wednesday, March, 6, 2013. We need you to call the Committee before then and make your voice heard for the sake of the Movement. We ask a lot of our members, but know this is a big deal. You are the advocates that built this organization and this Movement, and in 2013 we stand together at the edge of IL history and more than ever need you to fight with us to make our demands clear. The SKILLS Act must update Independent Living provisions including the establishment of an ILA.

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