Legislative notice (fwd)

From: Mike Freeman (mikef@pacifier.com)
Date: Fri Feb 06 1998 - 07:25:40 PST

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 08:10:09 -0500
From: Anthony Cobb <73531.1123@compuserve.com>
To: Blind.Copy.Receiver@compuserve.com
Subject: Legislative notice


DATE: February 6, 1998

FROM: James Gashel
       Director of Governmental Affairs
       National Federation of the Blind

  RE: Action needed on scheduling of rehabilitation amendments

     On February 4, 1998, the Senate Committee on Labor and Human
Resources voted unanimously to approve the bill to reauthorize
programs under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which Senator
Dewine has introduced as S. 1579. The amendments are expected to
be added to another related bill--S. 1186--known as the Workforce
Investment Partnership Act. That bill was reported from the
Committee on Labor and Human Resources last fall and has not been
scheduled for floor action.

     In order for this legislation to move forward beyond this
point it must be scheduled for consideration on the Senate floor.
If that does not happen quite soon, the prospects for a long term
reauthorization of the vocational rehabilitation program will
diminish and could be lost altogether.

     The Senate Majority Leader, Trent Lott, is in charge of
determining the schedule of pending business on the floor. In
order to be considered, each bill must be cleared by the Majority
Leader in consultation with other Senate leaders including
Senator Daschle and others in the minority.

     The letter which follows has been sent by the National
Federation of the Blind to urge prompt consideration of the
workforce investment measure. A list of Senate leaders (both
majority and minority) follows the letter. Please follow up with
similar communications and spread the word for others to do
likewise. It is particularly important to obtain communications
from affected public or private agencies as well.
The Honorable Trent Lott
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Lott:

     On behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, I am
writing to request prompt floor consideration of the Workforce
Investment Partnership Act legislation, S. 1186. When enacted,
this bill will bring to fruition the efforts made in Congress
over several years to consolidate and improve federal programs
relating to adult education, job training, and employment

     On February 4, 1998, the Committee on Labor and Human
Resources favorably reported a series of amendments to the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 with the intent of incorporating them
into S. 1186 during floor consideration. The amendments extend
for seven years the program of state grants for vocational
rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities. This
program was authorized through September 30, 1997, and is
currently operating under a temporary one-year continuation

     As reported by the Committee, the vocational rehabilitation
amendments represent a thorough review of existing law with
revisions being made to streamline eligibility determinations and
service delivery procedures. In the view of the National
Federation of the Blind, these amendments represent a giant step
forward in focusing program resources on needs identified by
consumers. This includes strengthened provisions on informed
consumer choice in the selection of goals, services, and service

     A bill (H.R. 1385) with a similar purpose to S. 1186 was
passed by the House of Representatives in May of 1997.
Therefore, action to reach an agreement on a conference report
could begin quite soon after approval of this legislation in the
Senate. With the extensive work already done to reach a broad
consensus, the opportunity to produce a final product must not be

     While this statement applies to the bill as a whole, the
need to complete action is especially urgent in regard to the
vocational rehabilitation amendments. Therefore, please do
everything in your power to expedite scheduling of the workforce
investment measure for consideration and final passage on the
Senate floor as soon as possible.

                              Very truly yours,

                              James Gashel
                              Director of Governmental Affairs
                              NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND


Trent Lott
Majority Leader
Fax: 202-224-4639

Don Nickles
Assistant Majority Leader
Fax: 202-224-3913

Judd Gregg
Chief Deputy Majority Whip
Fax: 202-224-3913

Larry E. Craig
Chairman, Senate Republican Policy Committee
Fax: 202-224-1235

Connie Mack
Chairman, Senate Republican Conference
Fax: 202-224-8022

Tom Daschle
Senate Minority Leader
Fax: 202-224-2047

Wendell H. Ford
Senate Minority Whip
Fax: 202-224-4212

John B. Breaux
Chief Deputy Minority Whip
Fax: 202-228-2577

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