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      Announcing New Action to Expand Employment Opportunities and 
         Ensure Equality for Individuals With Disabilities 
                           July 26, 2000 

Today, in an event at the FDR Memorial, President Clinton joined by the First Lady and leaders of the disability community, will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and take new action to further the goals of the ADA by: increasing Federal employment opportunities for people with disabilities; ensuring that Federal agencies establish effective procedures for addressing reasonable accommodation requests and that federal programs are free from disability-based discrimination; and reducing the barriers that Social Security beneficiaries face when they return to work. The President will also announce his intention to work with the Congress in the context of an overall budget framework to enact legislation that builds on the success of the Work Incentives Improvement Act by allowing children with disabilities to continue their Medicaid coverage even if their parents have returned to work. Finally, the President will unveil the Access America for People with Disabilities website created to provide quick access to services and other resources for people with disabilities and their families. In addition, the First Lady will announce a series of initiatives to improve and increase opportunities for young people with disabilities to successfully transition to work and achieve independence. Yesterday, Vice President Gore announced a number of initiatives to provide home- and community-based options for people with disabilities who frequently have no choice but institutionalization. These announcements build on the Clinton/Gore Administration's commitment to advancing the rights of people with disabilities as full participants in all of society and preserving the spirit and intent of the ADA.

ASSISTING DISABLED SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFICIARIES WHO ARE WORKING OR WANT TO GO TO WORK. The President's announcements reflect the ADA's focus on helping individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the workforce by reducing the barriers that Social Security beneficiaries face when they return to work.

INCREASING THE OPPORTUNITY FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES TO BE EMPLOYED IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. The President will issue an Executive Order calling on Federal agencies to hire 100,000 people with disabilities over a five-year period. This ambitious commitment exceeds current hiring trends by 60 percent, reflecting this Administration's strong commitment to making the Federal government a model employer by recruiting a diverse and well-qualified workforce. The President believes that the Federal government is ready to meet this challenge. This Executive Order calls on agencies to recruit individuals with disabilities for the full range of levels and occupations in the Federal government. The President will also direct Federal agencies to establish effective procedures for processing requests for reasonable accommodation by employees and job applicants with disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Although many individuals with disabilities can apply for and perform jobs without any reasonable accommodations, workplace barriers - whether physical or procedural - may keep others from performing jobs that they could do with some form of accommodation. Finally, to harness the power of new technologies to promote employment of people with significant disabilities, the President will call on Federal agencies that already operate customer service centers to identify positions that could be relocated to home-based or off-site facilities. If the agencies determine that it is feasible and appropriate to establish home-based positions, they are then required to develop a plan and guidelines that encourage the recruitment and employment of individuals with disabilities for such positions.

RENEWING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S COMMITMENT TO ENSURING THAT FEDERAL PROGRAMS ARE FREE FROM DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION. The President will direct all Federal agencies to engage in a plan to ensure that today's Federal programs are free from disability-based discrimination, using specific steps designed by the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reach this important goal. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ADA, we should renew our commitment to ensure that people with disabilities have equal employment opportunities within the Federal government and are fully able to participate in all Federal government programs.

ACCESS AMERICA FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WEBSITE. In keeping with President Clinton and Vice President Gore's vision of using information technology to increase and improve customer service, the President announced a new website, Access America for People with Disabilities - - that will serve as a "one-stop" electronic link to an enormous range of useful information for people with disabilities and their families. The website contains information relating to children and youth; employment, self employment, and entrepreneurship; transportation; health care and long term services and supports; choice and self-determination; recreation and travel; civil rights and protections; college, adult and vocational education; housing; technology; income supports; tax credits and deductions; disability statistics; and emergency preparedness. ANNOUNCING SUPPORT FOR LEGISLATION TO INCREASE ACCESS TO MEDICAID FOR WORKING FAMILIES WITH DISABLED CHILDREN. Today, the President will applaud the efforts of members of Congress to pass the Grassley-Kennedy-Sessions-Waxman Family Opportunity Act of 2000 (S. 2274 and HR 4825), sponsored by a bipartisan majority in the Senate and a growing coalition in the House. This bill, which is the next logical step beyond the Jeffords-Kennedy Work Incentives Improvement Act, creates a new Medicaid buy-in option and will help thousands of children with disabilities who lose their Medicaid coverage because of increased family income due to employment. It will also include a time-limited demonstration that extends Medicaid coverage to children who have a disabling condition that, without health care coverage, would cause them to become so severely disabled as to be eligible for SSI. The President will announce that he will work with the Congress to enact legislation that achieves these goals in the context of a fiscally responsible budget framework.

ADDRESSING BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT FOR YOUTH WITH DISABILITIES. The First Lady will announce a series of steps to help young people successfully transition from education to employment including:

HELPING DISABLED INDIVIDUALS LIVE AND WORK IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. Yesterday, Vice President Gore announced that the Clinton-Gore Administration will launch a series of major new initiatives designed to promote the delivery of home- and community-based care for people with disabilities of all ages. These initiatives include a new $50 million investment in FY 2001 to help states more easily offer services to people with disabilities of all ages in the setting most appropriate to their needs; new guidance to state Medicaid directors to help them comply with the recent Olmstead Supreme Court ruling requiring Medicaid coverage for home- and community-based services; and a new public-private partnership between the Administration and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help individuals with disabilities in institutional settings transition into community-based care. In addition, the Vice President also announced new action to increase home ownership; expand incentives for employment for individuals with disabilities to a broader range of housing assistance programs; and promote the development of new assistive technology for people with disabilities.

WORKING TO ACHIEVE THE GOALS OF THE ADA. Throughout this Administration, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked hard to achieve the ADA's core goals - equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. This Administration has vigorously defended the ADA in court cases across the Nation; collaborated with state Medicaid directors to implement the Supreme Court's 1999 Olmstead decision, which prohibits unjustified isolation of institutionalized persons with disabilities; helped ensure that 80 percent of America's public transit buses are now accessible; implemented the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, which the President signed into law last December; and developed far-reaching policies for a comprehensive, coordinated employment agenda through the Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities

PRESIDENT URGES THE CONGRESS TO ACT NOW ON NATIONAL PRIORITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. The President will urge the Congress to act now on national priorities that will address the unique needs of individuals with disabilities and are fully funded in his budget, including:

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