Although they may disagree on various foreign policy issues and argue about the future of climate change, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have come together in solidarity to help the disability community by confirming their support for the Disability Integration Act.
On Wednesday, April 6 Clinton released a statement endorsing the 2015 proposed civil rights legislation introduced by New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer which aims to ensure that people with disabilities who need long term care be given the choice to live independently and receive care at home instead of being forced into institutions and nursing facilities. Later on the same day, Sanders signed on as one of the five co-sponsors of the bill.
“As a young lawyer working for the Children’s Defense Fund, I started my career fighting for the inclusion of children with disabilities in our schools. And I’ve never stopped fighting to break down the barriers that hold people with disabilities back,” Clinton’s statement reads. “In this campaign, I have committed to improving opportunities for people with disabilities to live in integrated community settings, consistent with the full promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s historic Olmstead decision. As president, I am committed to ensuring that these promises are fulfilled. That is why I support the Disability Integration Act.”
Similar to the ADA, the ground-breaking legislation intends to require that states and insurance companies provide home and community based services as an alternative to institutionalization.
ADAPT, a national grass roots disability advocacy group, has been very vocal in its efforts to champion the DIA and activist Bruce Darling said he couldn’t be more pleased with the candidates support.
“The ADAPT community is thrilled that Hillary Clinton released a statement supporting the Disability Integration Act and that Bernie Sanders has signed on as a cosponsor of the legislation,” he says. “This is the first time in history that candidates for president of the United States have acknowledged our nation’s systemic institutionalization of Americans with disabilities as part of their campaigns and supported our cause. We will continue to press the other candidates to support this landmark legislation that assures that Americans with Disabilities are not denied our inalienable right to liberty and freedom.”