The Center for An Accessible Society Disability Issues Information









Administration offers up $1 billion for disability community programs

Feb. 1, 2001 -- The Administration today announced a $1 billion package of proposals to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The New Freedom Initiative was first announced last June as Bush campaigned for president; today's announcement offers up the same program, unchanged in its major aspects.

President George W. Bush's New Freedom Initiative calls for the Administration to "fully fund" the IDEA, which has been targeted in the past as an "unfunded mandate," and triple funding for the nation's 15 Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers -- from $11 million to $33 million -- to help bring assistive technologies to market and "better coordinate the federal effort in prioritizing immediate assistive and universally designed technology needs in the disability community." Technology -- computers and computer-driven devices like voice output -- are a true way to "level the playing field" for people with disabilities; with the right technology, quadriplegics can operate computers with the glance of an eye. Yet computer usage and Internet access for people with disabilities is half that of people without disabilities according to the Disability Statistics Center.

Bush's package of proposals also calls for --$20 million in federal matching funds annually to states "to guarantee low-income loans for people with disabilities to purchase equipment to telecommute from home."

--$10 million annually "to increase the accessibility of organizations that are currently exempt from Title III of the ADA, such as churches, mosques, synagogues, and civic organizations."

Bush is expected to day to sign several Executive Orders, two directing federal agencies to "swiftly implement" the "Ticket to Work" Act and the 1999 U. S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision, and another creating a National Commission on Mental Health Services.

Disability "is an experience that will touch most Americans at some point during their lives, either themselves or within their families," says the prepared statement. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed in 1990 -- by Bush's father -- "significant challenges remain for Americans with disabilities in realizing the dream of equal access to full participation in American society."

Text of Initiative available from White House at










Expert sources

About The Center for An Accessible Society