Tuesday, December 6, 2022

DO YOU WANT TO BE PART OF SOMETHING TRANSFORMATIONAL? Ask your Senators to Cosponsor S. 4982: International Children with Disabilities Protection Act

S. 4982 would authorize spending $10 million dollars in small grants to organizations across the globe that provide parents of children with disabilities with information, advocacy, training, and support to keep their children in their families and stop the placing of these children in institutions. Senator Menendez (D, NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the bill on September 28, 2022. Senator Moran (R, KS) joined him as the first cosponsor. On the same day nine other Senators joined them: Durbin (D, IL), Murkowski (R, AK), Leahy (D, VT), Blackburn, (R, TN), Shaheen (D, NH), Tillis (R, NC), Kaine (D, VA), Duckworth (D, IL), Merkley (D, OR), and Murphy (D, CT). On November 14, 2022, Senators Cardin (D, MD) and Casey (D, PA) joined as co-sponsors. There is no opposition to this legislation. Its first stop is the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should be our initial contacts. In addition to Senator Menendez, cosponsoring Senators Cardin, Shaheen, Murphy, Kaine, and Merkley are on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We need to get a majority of the Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support quick passage in the Committee, so S. 4982 can be considered by the full Senate before this Congress ends. Other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are: Senators Coons (D, DE), Markey (D, MA), Booker (D, NJ), Schatz (D, HI), Van Hallen (D, MD), Risch (R, ID), Rubio (R, FL), Johnson (R, WI), Romney (R, UT), Portman (R, OH), Rand (R, KY), Young (R, IN), Barrasso (R, WY), Cruz (R, TX), Rounds (R, SD), and Hagerty (R, TN).


S. 4982 is one of those small miracles. If enacted, it could change societies that have invested heavily in institutions. Parents of children with disabilities, once empowered, will convince others to see the value and benefit of keeping families intact -- individuals with disabilities will thrive and contribute to their communities, parents will get the support they need, social infrastructure will align with disability rights, and economies will benefit.


If the Senate moves with speed and passes S. 4982 soon, one of two things could happen. The legislation could be attached to another bill in the House, which has a high probability of passing, and be signed into law this year. Or, if passed by the Senate with overwhelming support, but not considered by the House, it would have a smooth path for reintroduction in the Senate in the new Congress and with that could promote serious and speedy consideration by the House of Representatives.


One hundred organizations support S. 4982. They represent disability, faith-based, children’s, and international development interests. An opportunity like this does not occur often, yet here it is. If you engage and help over the next few weeks and we are successful, we will produce a holiday miracle and lay the foundation for powerful, bipartisan cooperation in the future.


Thank you. Have a great holiday season!

Patricia Morrissey, 

President, US International Council on Disabilities

aka Common Grounder

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