THE REHABILITATION ACT Act 1 - 1973-1974 Evolution of The Statute --What is Past is Prologue--
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 n Landmark Legislation and “Grandmother” to the current Statute – Establishes the Rehabilitation Services Administration – Establishes Focus on Severe “Handicaps” – Establishes Individualized Written Program – Establishes Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 n Established Section 504 n Established Comparable Benefits re funding higher education for customers n Created Demo Project re Client Assistance n Created Precursor to President’s Committee on Employment of Persons w/ Disabilities
Act 1 --“Politics” n Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was vetoed by President Nixon, not once but TWICE (October 27, 1972; and March 27, 1973) n 1st time in history (53) that Rehabilitation legislation received NO votes in the Congress.
Why Executive and Legislative Branch Dissent???? n Congressional and Presidenital Dissent arose as result of two concerns: – 1st concern--the fiscal expansion of the Program n 1st bill increased Basic State Grants (Title I) by a total of $3.477 billion n 2nd bill increased Basic State Grants (Title I by total of $2.594 billion n Final bill increased authorizations to $1.350 billion over three three years.
Politics of 1973 Reauthorization n Specific Concern w/ Funding – High authorization levels in first two bills were unrealistic and unreasonable – Did not have potential of being met n Authorization Debate was one of two vital issues in the Veto Consideration
Politics of 1973 Reauthorization n Second Issue in the Veto Consideration – concern with the expansion of the Program’s Goals and Objectives n --Creation of IL which did not have Employment as Outcome, Nixon and some in Congress felt was a Significant Departure from VR Purpose
Themes of Congressional Debate Regarding Addition of IL n Issues brought out in Congressional and Executive Branch Debate are still with us in 2004. – Concepts which we are still debating n IL as a springboard to VR or IL as a separate Program n “Worthiness of Non-vocational program” n Cost-effectiveness --human dividends vs. cash dividends
Excerpts from Congressional Debate n Chair of Labor & Public Welfare Committee, Sen. Harrison Williams-- – “there is no question than many individuals at the outset do not appear to have voc. Goals. Yet, after the provision of IL services and trng, these individuals may be brought to point where they can be accepted into the Basic VR Program. I, for one, am not willing to make a final judgement spelling no hope for any human being at any time.”
Congressional Debate, cont. n Acting Chair of Sub. on the Handicapped, Alan Cranston: – “It is a misconception to consider this a nonvocational program. Basically, this program offers the possibility that some individuals for whom a vocational goal is not initially possible can, with help under this new title, move toward a vocational goal under the basic program”
Congressional Debate, con’t. n Senator Jacob Javits, the Ranking Minority Member of the Labor and Public Welfare Committee said: – “In these days of budget constraints, I believe it is important to note that vocational rehabilitation is not just another welfare. It not only produces “human divideneds” but it also produces “cash dividends.
Congressional Debate, con’t n A voice in dissent to adding IL Title--Sen. Robert Taft – “…But the question really is whether it belongs in a vocational rehab. program and whether, with the demands of this particular need-of which there are considerable, indeed-we may not, in effect, be setting in competition with the voc. Rehab. programs another door for expenditure, another program which on its own perhaps might be a very worthy program…”
So What Did Nixon Say…(besides I’m Not a Crook) n The Presidential Veto Message of Oct. 27, 1972 stated: – “This measure would seriously jeopardize the goals of VR Program and is another example of Congressional fiscal irresponsibility. Its provisions would divert this program from its basic vocational objectives into activities which have no vocational element whatsoever…”
What Survived the Vetoes... n Establishment of RSA in statute. Position of RSA Commissioner Elevated to Presidential Appointment – RSA responsible for all research, trng, and service responsibilities – redirects research to be relevant to handicapped
What Survives Veto... n Focus on “Most Severe Handicaps” – redirected VR Program to focus on individuals with most severe handicaps – required each State Plan to show how persons receiving services selected to guarantee that those with most severe handicaps served first.
What Congress Said About Redirection of Program n Ranking Member of Subcommittee on Select Education, Cong. Ogden Reid “…we became aware that many handicapped individuals were not being served by this program. This has come partly as the result of pressures to serve more and more individuals…”
More Congressional Rationale n Ranking Member of Ed and Labor Committee, Cong. Albert Quie, said …”with an emphasis on closure, the counselor is discouraged from the long-term followup that is sometimes necessary for successful adjustment to the work situation.
And More Congressional “Wisdom” n Chairman of Select Subcommittee, John Brademas set forth the Congressional intent: n “Mr.. Speaker, this measure before you today should encourage the administrators of this program to remember the overall purpose of this act, which is to serve the handicapped; that is those with physical or mental disabilities.
Another Veto Survivor-IWP n Required that IWP which had previously been part of program be jointly developed with equal participation of the client and counselor. n Further mandated that if the original goals could not be achieved, the counselor and client working together must develop a new plan.
So What did 73 Amendments Show... n The unquestioned commitment of Congress for the VR Program was eroding. n Reauthorization of 1973 signaled new era for persons with disabilities. n Reauthorization ushered beginning of competition for scarce resources between programs for persons with disabilities with other “worthy” programs.
The End of Act I n And finally ‘73 Reauthorization showed that meeting the needs of persons with disabilities had become enmeshed in politics which would become even more insidious over time. n The bomb was created...