September 25, 2008
harkin statement regarding ada amendments act becoming law
Senator who was chief author of original ADA attended White House signing ceremony today
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today after President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act. The bill was recently passed unanimously by both the House and the Senate. Harkin was the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate.
“The day, 18 years ago, when President Bush’s father signed the original Americans with Disabilities Act into law was the proudest day of my Senate career. But this day comes close, because this new law overturns Supreme Court decisions that have taken away the rights of people with disabilities, and restores the original promise and protections of the ADA.
“I think of my brother Frank, who was deaf, and who suffered terrible discrimination and exclusion, and I think of millions of other Americans with disabilities who face similar obstacles. As chief Senate sponsor of both the original ADA and this new ADA restoration act, I am deeply gratified that we could work in a bipartisan fashion to ensure that all Americans have the right to equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.”
Since the ADA became law in 1990, a series of court decisions narrowed the category of who qualifies as an “individual with a disability,” contrary to Congressional intent. By raising the threshold for an impairment to qualify as a disability, these court decisions have deprived individuals of the discrimination protections Congress intended to provide. The ADA Amendments Act would remedy this problem and restore workplace protections to every American with a disability.
Hopefully some sort of media coverage will show up.