The Pope, A New Speaker and a Budget: What’s Going on in Washington Right Now

It has been an exciting few weeks here in Washington, D.C.  It started with the city in celebration mode to host the pope and ended with the Speaker of the House resigning and the House and Senate passing a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that avoided a government shutdown.iStock_000012685951XSmall

While the CR is only short-term it was necessary as Congress has yet to pass any of the 12 annual appropriations bills and send them to the president’s desk.  As is the CR will continue to fund the government at fiscal year 2015 levels through December 11, 2015.

The current CR means that funding for programs and agencies important to the disability community, including the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remain intact.

However, the looming December deadline still presents many reasons for us to remain watchful.  In addition to carving out a larger and longer-term budget agreement that must address across the board cuts and extend past the 2016 elections, Congress must also address hitting the federal debt ceiling.   

As for the new speaker of the house, it is likely to be Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).  However, many members are running for the other key positions in the leadership.  What is clear is that no matter who is nominated, they will surely have a full plate to deal with.

Here at UCP, we will continue to monitor the discussions and update you as the process proceeds.


Cheryl Hines wins BIG for people with disabilities!

UCP’s Celebrity Ambassador, actress Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Suburbgatory) appeared on last night’s episode of Celebrity Family Feud competing on behalf of United Cerebral Palsy and people with disabilities. Cheryl has a nephew with cerebral palsy and has been a strong supporter of UCP for many years.

Cheryl Hines and her Family. Photo from The University of Central Florida website.

Cheryl and her team, which consisted of her sister Rebecca, her brothers Chris and Michael and their mom, Rosemary, took the prize from family of television personality Niecy Nash (Reno 911). Team Hines big win raised $25,000 to be donated to UCP!
Congratulations to Cheryl and her family on their BIG WIN and helping support “A Life Without Limits” for people with disabilities and their families!
Though we may not all be as lucky as Cheryl and her family to be on Family Feud, you can still help to provide support and resources to people with disabilities and their families and contribute to our mission to provide “A Life Without Limits!” Find out more about how you can make a difference or donate today!


Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175,

New NGA Chair announced year-long initiative at annual meeting


Washington, DC (July 16, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) issued the following response to the National Governors Association’s announcement of new Chair Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s initiative “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities.”

According to the NGA’s announcement, the initiative will aim to increase employment among individuals with disabilities and focus specifically on the intersection of government, businesses and individuals seeking gainful employment. The initiative will work to develop a “blueprint” for states and businesses to help both raise awareness and outline the best policies to increase employment of people living with disabilities. Business and Congressional leaders will collaborate on this initiative and help to determine best practices and policies.

United Cerebral Palsy provides comprehensive employment-related resources and information through its nearly 100 affiliates across the country, which support employment programs, assistance to job seekers with disabilities, and work with employers to improve the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities in the workforce.

“United Cerebral Palsy is thrilled that the National Governors Association has chosen to highlight an issue that is so critical to Americans living with disabilities. Employment is a way for these individuals to be integrated in their communities and live their lives to the fullest while providing the business community with a workforce that is eager to participate, and yet only has a 20 percent employment rate,” said Stephen Bennett, former President & CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “By bringing together business and government, Governor Markell will be able to develop a blueprint for employment that both serves and benefits all involved. We look forward to this initiative’s work and its tremendous potential for positive change.”

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UCP Celebrates Health Care Law Decision

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175,



Leading disability organization praises Supreme Court decision and implications for people living with disabilities

Washington, DC (June 28, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) responded to the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Supreme Court’s ruling today affirms that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, and will ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions will have access to the care they need. For individuals living with disabilities, it provides many critical benefits, most notably removing annual and lifetime caps on insurance coverage and expanding minimum benefits coverage to include more services and supports. The decision also maintains the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, enabling more Americans to have access to health care services, including individuals who need long-term care services.

“The Affordable Care Act has already made a significant difference in the lives of millions of Americans, including those living with disabilities. Today’s ruling is an affirmation that all Americans, and especially those living with disabilities, should have access to the care that they need. This decision means that individuals cannot be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition— and for the disability community, affirms the definition of equality as set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Stephen Bennett, former UCP President & CEO. “Today’s decision is a clear victory for Americans living with disabilities. UCP strongly supports the Affordable Care Act and will keep working to ensure its implementation eliminates disparities and guarantees equality for all Americans.”

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About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit