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Obama Inauguration Brings Talk Of Disabilities


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In laying out his vision for the next four years, President Barack Obama didn’t forget about Americans with disabilities.

Obama made specific mention of parents raising children with disabilities in his inaugural address on Monday. He also spoke of the need to protect entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid, which many people with disabilities rely on, indicating that such programs are part of what “make this country great.”

“We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity,” Obama said.

Though noting that there would be “hard choices” ahead to address the size of the nation’s budget deficit, the president indicated that he would not be willing to compromise one group of Americans for another.

“We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn,” Obama said.

Despite the upbeat talk within the president’s speech, however, disability advocates have warned that the coming months could be treacherous as Congress heads into budget negotiations.

Lawmakers are still working to sort out this year’s federal budget. At the same time, a deal reached early this year delayed a series of deep spending cuts for nearly all government programs under a process known as sequestration until March. That leaves funding for everything from special education to housing programs for people with disabilities hanging in the balance.

“Everything is on the table,” Marty Ford, director of public policy for The Arc, told Disability Scoop earlier this month. “The next three months will make a huge difference in the way our federal government addresses people with disabilities for years to come.”

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. David Snow says:

    Excellent News. Thank goodness the other guy wasn’t sworn in the other day!

  2. Karen Gillette says:

    I applaud President Obama’s inclusion of “parents raising children with disabilities” in his inaugural address. However, the phrase “parents raising children with disabilities” perpetuates the long held stereotype that people/children with developmental disabilities never reach independence. I want to see rhetoric from our top leadership to empower and promote individuals with developmental disabilities as full citizens of the United State.

  3. Tammy Y. Pitts MS says:

    Good Morning Everyone,

    My name is Tammy Pitts; I’m a Rehabilitation Counselor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was so proud and pleased at the response that President Obama gave concerning We The People; including all citizens (Disabled) I have been blessed to have worked with people with disabilities. I have placed individuals who were supported; who have completed their DRS milestones, it has been my honor to serve these special individuals and citizens of the United States. I’m glad that our Government is finally recognizing the needs of all it’s precious citizens. Education of our citizens is the key to a successful and caring nation.

    Thank You For Your Time,

    Tammy Y. Pitts MS
    Rehabilitation Counselor
    Sassin & Associates Inc..

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