McMorris Rodgers & Congressional Leaders Introduce ABLE Act

Nov 15, 2011

ABLE Act Press Conference

Bipartisan Bill Would Reform Tax Code to
Empower Americans with Disabilities

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus, joined a bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders in introducing the Achieving a Better Life Expectancy (ABLE) Act today.  This bill – which would reform the tax code to empower Americans with disabilities and their families – is a high priority for disability advocacy groups.  Specifically, it would allow parents of children with disabilities to save for their children’s future without jeopardizing their access to benefits, helping many of them escape from poverty while adding another layer of security.  

“As the mom of a child with special needs, I know too often federal policies limit those with disabilities making them become dependent on the government and keeping them in poverty,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers at a press conference unveiling the bill today.  “To take one example, when my son Cole was born, my husband and I were advised not to put any assets in Cole’s name because it would penalize him if he needed to qualify for a government program someday.  There are millions of other parents in this same situation.  They would like to help their children improve their quality of life without jeopardizing their access to benefits.  That’s why we need the ABLE Act.  This common-sense bill would allow parents to save for their children’s future and give kids with disabilities a chance to live the American Dream.  I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill and I will be a strong leader on its behalf.”  

Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), the lead author of today’s bill, released the following statement: “Our tax code currently provides advantages to help Americans save for college and retirement, yet people with disabilities do not enjoy those same financial planning tools. These individuals and their families face enormous financial struggles that most of us cannot imagine.  The ABLE Act helps ease those strains by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, and transportation. No longer would individuals with disabilities have to stand aside and watch others use IRS-sanctioned tools to lay the groundwork for a brighter future. They would be able to as well, and that’s an accomplishment we all can be proud of.”

In addition to Rep. Crenshaw and Rep. McMorris Rodgers, a list of speakers at today’s press conference is below:

Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Co-Chair of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), Co-Chair of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus
Mr. Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc
Mr. Peter Bell, Executive Vice President of Autism Speaks
Mr. Charles H. "Chip" Gerhardt, Chairman of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) Board of Directors
Ms. Sara Wolff, Member of the NDSS Board of Directors
Officials from other disability advocacy groups

The House version of the ABLE Act has 28 original co-sponsors.  

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