Today the House passed H.R. 620, which guts the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and strips away the rights of disabled people. The legislation was passed despite the warnings that this legislation would eliminate incentives for businesses to comply with the law, as expressed by disability rights advocates and Democratic Party leaders. We are extremely disappointed and angry to see this brazen attack on the civil rights of disabled people across the country.
We are extremely disappointed with the 12 Democrats who voted in support of the disastrous H.R. 620 bill, which passed by a vote of 225-192. If the Democrats were unanimous, this legislation would have been defeated! By supporting H.R. 620, and putting their support behind businesses who fail to comply with the 28-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act, they failed to stand with their disabled citizens.
Instead of passing H.R. 620 and undermining the Americans with Disabilities Act, elected officials should have addressed state laws enabling drive-by lawyers. The shameful passage of H.R. 620 shows that 225 United States Representatives, who voted against the rights of millions of Americans with disabilities, want to kill the ADA. It is Congress’s responsibility to support community inclusion, support the civil rights of disabled people, and make it easier for people with disabilities to lead independent lives.
We are grateful to Congressman Jim Langevin (RI) for fighting to protect our disability rights. His powerful statement against the H.R. 620 on the floor, and his personal story of facing barriers resonated with the Disability Community.
We thank Representative Sensenbrenner (R), who is the lead sponsor of the Disability Integration Act (HR2427/S910), for his vote against H.R. 620; as well as the eighteen other Republicans that stood with Americans with disabilities on this day. Finally, we are most grateful for our Congresswoman, Louise Slaughter, who defended the civil rights of the Disability Community and spoke out against this shameful legislation.
We are indebted to the disability advocates who took action against this bill, and we demand the Senate not support this legislation. Please call your Senator’s at (202) 224-3121! H.R. 620 tells disabled people one thing, you are not welcome in my district. And make no mistake; we will remember this moment, and hold our Representatives accountable, and continue to fight to preserve the ADA!