Unusual Bed Fellows Urge President Bush to Sign the ADA Amendments Act into Law

Media 09.17,08

Washington, DC – More than a hundred civil rights and disability advocates joined employers on the steps of the Capitol today to urge the president to sign the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Amendments Act into law. 

The ADA Amendments Act enjoys strong bicameral and bipartisan support, as well as support among employers, civil rights and disability advocates, who have formed an uncommon alliance around the legislative fix. The bill corrects narrow court interpretations that have restricted ADA protections in the workplace, and stripped coverage for individuals with diabetes, epilepsy, and even cancer. 

Leaders from the groups supporting the fix issued the following statements urging President Bush to sign the ADA Amendments Act into law:

“We applaud the action of the U.S. Congress on this important piece of legislation.  This legislation does much to promote the rights of people with hearing loss and we urge the president to take swift action and sign this bill into law.”
– Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Executive Director Alexander T. Graham
[Press contact: Catherine Murphy (808) 938-7080 or (202) 204-4687]

“Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send a message to the U.S. Supreme Court that they should think twice before rewriting a disability rights law.  We now look forward to this critical bipartisan civil rights bill being signed into law by President Bush, restoring protections to people who benefitted from the original ADA when his father signed it 18 years ago.”
– American Association of People with Disabilities President and CEO Andrew Imparato
[Press contact: Rebecca Panoff (407) 617-9891]

“Both chambers of Congress have now overwhelmingly supported the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 to restore the original intent of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  This legislation fulfills the ADA’s promise of fairness and equality by repairing the judicial rollbacks to the law that we’ve experienced in the past two decades.”
– American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Washington Legislative Office Director Caroline Fredrickson
[Press contact: Matthew Allee (202) 675-2336]

“We are now at a critical point in our fight to protect the rights of Americans with disabilities. Members of Congress have worked in partnership with business and the disability communities to pass historic legislation that ensures that people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes are protected from discrimination.  In doing so, Congress has acted in the best interest of both employers and the hardworking individuals who simply want the opportunity to work and to provide for their families. Now, we turn to the president to sign this bill into law and to strengthen the rights of Americans with disabilities: our neighbors, our family, our colleagues.”
– American Diabetes Association CEO Larry Hausner
[Press contact: Shana Starkand (703) 549-1500 ext. 2622]

“I am elated by the House and Senate’s strong bipartisan support for the ADA Amendments Act. This legislation, which has been hard fought for by both the business and disability community, will effectively protect millions of Americans with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace.  I am hopeful that President Bush will act soon to restore the intent of the landmark legislation that his father signed into law almost two decades ago.”
– The Arc of the United States Executive Director Peter Berns
[Press contact: Laura Hart (301) 565-5462]

“CHADD applauds Congress for its work to enact this important piece of civil rights legislation for people with disabilities.  We look forward to the president signing the ADA Amendments Act into law, which will restore the broad protections Congress originally intended for those with AD/HD and related disorders.”
– Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) CEO E. Clarke Ross
[Press contact: Cindy Smith (301) 306-7070, ext. 138]

“The ADAAA will ensure that people with disabilities face not discrimination that closes doors, but a society that opens doors.  We thank Congress for taking these actions to allow children and adults with disabilities to achieve in school and at work.”
– Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) Executive Director Denise Marshall
[Press Contact: Denise Marshall, 410-372-0208]

“Easter Seals thanks and congratulates our Congressional leaders who helped pass the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.  A bill passed with broad-based bipartisan support, it is intended to restore protections under the ADA, prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities and providing millions of Americans the chance to participate fully in American life. Nearly 20 years ago, Congress made a major contribution to the lives of people with disabilities by enacting the landmark ADA, helping to fulfill Easter Seals’ mission to ensure that people living with autism and other disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play. And now, we urge the president to take quick action by signing this legislation into law.”
– Easter Seals President and Chief Executive Officer James E. Williams, Jr.
[Press contact: Kristen Barnfield (312) 551-7147]

“We salute Congress for reaffirming that people with disabilities such as epilepsy should have the same rights and protections as all other Americans and we look forward to President Bush signing this as the law of the land.”
–Epilepsy Foundation President and CEO Eric R. Hargis
[Press contact: Kimberli Meadows (301) 520-6656]

“Hearing Loss Association of America is thrilled that the ADA Amendments Act has passed both houses of Congress and is ready to be signed into law by President Bush.  We eagerly await the president’s signature on this vitally important legislation that restores equal opportunities in the workplace for people with hearing loss.”
– Hearing Loss Association of America Executive Director Brenda Battat
[Press contact: Lise Hamlin (301) 657-2248]

“The original ADA did for people with disabilities what the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did for communities of color – safeguard their civil rights and protect them from discrimination. For nearly 20 years, the ADA has given Americans with all kinds of disabilities the opportunity to work in jobs for which they are qualified. Today’s final passage ensures that the only factor in getting, keeping, and moving ahead in a job will be whether you can do the job.”
– Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Executive Vice President Nancy Zirkin
[Press contact: Maggie Kao (202) 466-2735]

“NAMI congratulates Majority Leader Hoyer and Congressman Sensenbrenner for this tremendous accomplishment. This legislation will move us closer to the critical goal in the ADA of greater integration of people living with mental illness into the workplace.”
– National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick
[Press contact: Andrew Sperling (703) 516-7222]

“We urge the president to sign ADA Amendments Act of 2008 into law.  The scope of individuals protected under the ADA, passed in 1990, has been narrowed since by the U.S. Supreme Court. We must ensure that deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as individuals with disabilities, have equal access and opportunities to the same rights and privileges enjoyed by the general public.”
– National Association of the Deaf Chief Executive Officer Nancy J. Bloch
[Press contact: Rosaline Hayes Crawford (301) 587-7730]

“This bill represents a truly remarkable collaboration of disability, civil rights and employer groups with Members of Congress and Senators on both sides of the aisle.  The NAM is proud to have helped shape this landmark legislation and urges the president to sign this bill without delay.”
– National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Executive Vice President Jay Timmons
[Press contact: Laura Narvaiz (202) 637-3104]

“Today’s passage of the overwhelmingly bipartisan ADA Amendments Act will mean that millions of motivated, qualified, unemployed Americans with disabilities disenfranchised by overt workplace discrimination will now have a fair opportunity to secure employment and economic self-sufficiency. NCIL expects President Bush will join Congress to reaffirm economic self-sufficiency, dignity of work, and freedom from discrimination is a civil right, not a privilege.”
– National Council on Independent Living Executive Director John Lancaster
[Press contact: Justin W. Chappell (301) 802-7720]

“NDRN calls on President Bush to honor the legacy of his father and promptly sign into law the ADA Amendments Act.”
– National Disability Rights Network Executive Director Curt Decker
[Press contact: Matt Hayden (202) 408-9514, ext. 128]

“Not only will these amendments restore the ADA to its original intent, but they will restore dignity to the many Americans with disabilities who want to work but have been punished by a law that has been narrowly interpreted.”
– National Employment Lawyers Association Vice President of Public Policy David R. Cashdan
[Press contact: Donna Lenhoff (202) 898-2880]

“As an organization that promotes the health of all people and works to provide a united voice for people with chronic diseases and disabilities, the National Health Council is proud to stand behind this landmark piece of civil rights legislation.  The NHC believes that the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 will endure as an important bipartisan step towards ensuring that the ideal of an American future free of workplace discrimination becomes a reality.”
– National Health Council CAE Myrl Weinberg
[Press contact: Nathan Vafaie (202) 973-0545]

“In passing the ADA Amendments Act, Congress has signaled its strong support of the rights of individuals with disabilities.  Congress, employers, and employees support this legislation.  Now, we urge President Bush to sign the bill into law to address court decisions that have limited the effectiveness of the original ADA.”
– Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Acting President and CEO China Miner Gorman, SPHR
[Press contact: Samantha Anderson (773) 456-1456]

“Today’s overwhelming vote by the House of Representatives on the ADAAA brings us within reach of our shared dream of restoring workplace protections for persons with disabilities.  I thank all those Members of Congress who supported this vital legislation and urge President Bush to make our dream a reality by signing the bill into law.”
– United Cerebral Palsy President and CEO Stephen Bennett
[Press contact: Elizabeth Reitz (202) 973-7114]

“Jewish Americans have always followed through on our teachings to speak out on behalf of those without a voice, protect those who need protecting, and fight for causes larger than ourselves.  Judges have been wrong to limit the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which has limited the effectiveness of this historic law.  We are pleased that Congress has stepped in to ensure that all Americans are given equal opportunity in the workplace.”
– United Jewish Communities Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office William C. Daroff
[Press contact: Adam Muhlendorf (202) 265-3000]

“United Spinal Association urges President Bush to sign the ADA Amendments Act immediately – just as his father signed the ADA with broad bipartisan support in 1990.  The Act will protect all people with disabilities, but we owe a special debt of gratitude to the honorable men and women who have become disabled in the service of our country.  The bill will help make sure they are protected from unlawful discrimination when they recover enough to re-enter the workforce.”
– United Spinal Association President and CEO Paul Tobin
[Press contact: Peggy Hathaway (917) 685-6907]

“We are happy to see the House following suit and proceeding with the Senate ADA Amendments Act, which passed last week. It is now headed for the President’s signature. This bill follows months of negotiations and the legislation represents a sound compromise between the Senate, the House, the business community, and the disability community.”
– U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randel K. Johnson
[Press contact: Eric Wohlschlegel (202) 463-5682] 

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