From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Statement on 14th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26, 2004

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

"Fourteen years ago, landmark civil rights legislation -- the Americans with Disabilities Act -- was enacted 'to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.'

"The ADA recognized, and made the law of the land, the simple premise that every American has the right to live independently and to fully participate in all aspects of our society -- including our schools, our businesses, and our communities.

"Today, we celebrate the successes of the ADA and the hard-fought victories that have prevented discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The ADA has promoted inclusion so that individuals with disabilities should not be isolated, living separate lives, but instead should have full access to public accommodations, governmental services, and the right to vote.

"But we would be remiss to think that all the barriers are behind us or that we are close to meeting the goals of the ADA. Despite the clear intent of Congress, courts in recent years narrowed the scope of the ADA and have limited the enforcement of key provisions, especially those related to the workplace and the application of the ADA to states. And the number of people with disabilities employed by the federal government has decreased.

"We must renew our efforts to realize the promise of the ADA and work to restore its full protections. We will fight the attempts of the Bush Administration to appoint judges who try to chip away at the ADA and their attempts every year to cut funding for key programs in Medicaid, Section 8 housing, vocational rehabilitation, and assistive technology.

"The ADA brought our nation closer to the ideals of equality and opportunity that are both our heritage and our hope. Democrats are leading the way in our national effort to make those ideals a reality for all Americans."




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