[Nfbaz-news] please call or email our senators!

Bob Kresmer krezguy at cox.net
Fri Aug 2 18:36:04 UTC 2013

August 2, 2013 


This is a call to action for us as a grassroots organization to react to
proposed legislative changes that will negatively affect all persons with


As many of you are aware, this week the U.S. Senate Committee on Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) passed S 1356, which is the
reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.  This is extremely
troubling news for the blind and disabled because the reauthorization
includes policy changes that will reverse the gains in equality made since
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was passed.  The two most critical and
harmful policy changes are:


(1) The bill has proposed language in Section 511 of the Rehabilitation Act
that requires vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to include training
and employment at wages below the federal minimum wage as a VR service.
This change essentially links the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to Section
14(c) of the FLSA.  If passed, this would provide an additional level of
legislation authorizing the payment of subminimum wages to individuals with
disabilities.  In addition, it would also provide a roadmap of how to place
individuals with disabilities on a career track that leads to subminimum
wage jobs.


(2) The bill proposes to transfer the Rehabilitation Services Administration
(RSA) from the Department of Education to the Department of Labor, severing
the essential link between the provision of quality education and
rehabilitation services for people with disabilities.  While transferring
RSA to DOL theoretically emphasizes the ultimate goal of employment, this
proposed transfer devalues the needed expertise in providing quality
rehabilitation services to people with disabilities in order to best prepare
them for competitive integrated employment. 


The next step is for the reauthorization to go to the full Senate floor for
a debate and vote.  I have already requested a meeting with Senators McCain
and Flake to discuss our position and sent them an email which also
expresses our views on the reauthorization of WIA.  I am asking that each of
you contact the Senators offices and let them know that you are opposed to S
1356 for the two reasons stated above. The information for contacting them
is listed below.  Additionally, I have included sample text of what needs to
be in the email, or that can be communicate with their offices by phone.


The Honorable John McCain

241 Russell Senate Office Building

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Main: (202) 224-2235

Fax: (202) 228-2862

Senator_McCain at mccain.senate.gov


The Honorable Jeff Flake

368 Russell Senate Office Building

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Phone: 202-224-4521




The information below can be cut and pasted into your email message to the
Senators.  In addition, should you decide to make a personal phone call to
the Senators offices this is all the information that needs to be
communicated.  Should they ask for additional information, inform them that
you will have someone from the national office follow up and then let me
know so I can make sure the follow up takes place.


As a resident of Arizona and a member of the National Federation of the
Blind, I am asking the Senator to not support the reauthorization of the
Workforce Investment Act of 1998 unless it is amended to:

(1) Eliminate section 511 of Title V from the reauthorization of the WIA; 

(2) Eliminate language from the reauthorization of WIA moving RSA from the
Department of Education to the Department of Labor.



John Doe

1234 Main Street

Tucson, AZ 00000

Johndoe at gmail.com



Should you need any assistance in contacting the Senators offices, or if you
have any questions about the reauthorization of WIA, please do not hesitate
to contact me.



Donald Porterfield

donaldpfield at gmail.com



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