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 Home > News & Policies > July 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 26, 2002

Honoring the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

President Bush commemorated the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act -- landmark legislation that opens doors for more than 50 million people living with disabilities throughout our country. Video screen capture by Monty Haymes.

Today's Presidential Action:

In an East Room ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, President George W. Bush:

Announced a clarification of Medicare policy to ensure that people with severe disabilities considered "homebound" under Medicare home health requirements are able to leave their homes occasionally without the risk of losing their Medicare coverage; and

  • Called on Congress to fund his New Freedom Initiative budget requests, including $145 million for: (1) competitive grants to provide additional transportation services for Americans with disabilities, increasing their access to the job market; and (2) a pilot program to demonstrate innovative solutions for transportation problems that prevent many people with disabilities from living more independently.

    President Bush also praised the work of the Commission on Excellence in Special Education, which recently recommended improvements in the education of students with disabilities to Congress and the President. These recommendations will help Congress as it considers the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). President Bush has made funding for special education a high priority. In each of the President's two budget requests, he has asked Congress for an additional $1 billion in IDEA Part B State Grants funding, the largest increases ever requested in history by any president.

    Background on Today's Presidential Action:

    On February 1, 2001, President Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative - a comprehensive program to promote the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of society by increasing access to assistive and universally designed technologies, expanding educational and employment opportunities, and promoting increased access into daily community life.

    The Administration is committed to the full enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in:

  • Places of public accommodation, including all hotels, restaurants, retail stores, theaters, health care facilities, convention centers, parks, and places of recreation;
  • Activities of state and local governments, including public transportation and employment; and
  • Employment practices of private employers with 15 or more employees.

    The New Freedom Initiative also increases technical assistance to help small businesses comply with the ADA. The President believes that the most efficient way to promote compliance with the Act is to give businesses and local governments the information they need to better understand their obligations. Examples of the Administration's innovative efforts to promote compliance with the ADA include the Department of Justice's "ADA Business Connection," which is increasing compliance by fostering an ADA dialogue within the business community and increasing the flow of ADA information to business decision makers. Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is providing ADA training to small businesses throughout the country.

    For a full progress report on the implementation of the New Freedom Initiative, please visit /infocus/newfreedom/

    For more information on the President's initiatives, please visit