November 19, 1999
Today, the Senate is expected to vote on the conference report to accompany
H.R. 1180, the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999.
The President has a deep and long-standing commitment to empowering and
promoting the independence of people with disabilties.
H.R. 1180 would give people with disabilities a new chance to work without fear of losing their Medicare and Medicaid coverage. This bill also would create a demonstration program that provides people who are not yet too disabled to work the opportunity to "buy into" Medicaid to help them keep working. In addition, it would enhance opportunities for Social Security disability beneficiaries to obtain vocational rehabilitation and employment services from their choice of participating providers. The Administration strongly supports these provisions that will enable more people with disabilities to work.
The Administration is deeply troubled that H.R. 1180 includes a provision concerning the organ transplantation rule of the Department of Health and Human Services that would provide for a 90-day delay in the rule, including a required 60-day comment period. This provision is in conflict with the provision in the Consolidated Appropriations bill that would provide for a 42-day delay. The Statement of the Managers for the Consolidated bill makes clear their intent that there be no further delay following the 42-day period. The provision in the Consolidated bill represents the true compromise that resulted from negotiations involving all parties. The Administration agreed to and supports the compromise provision in the Consolidated bill and believes that the rule should be issued without further delay after the 42-day period expires.
H.R. 1180 contains several time-sensitive provisions that extend expiring tax laws. The Administration supports many of these provisions, including the extension of alternative minimum tax provisions, the research and experimentation tax credit, the qualified zone academy bond authorization, the brownfields provisions, and the District of Columbia homebuyers credit. Although the extension of certain expiring tax laws is essential, the failure to fully offset the revenue losses resulting from these provisions is unfortunate. The Administration also is disappointed that H.R. 1180 includes the special allowance adjustment for student loans because it exposes the Federal Government, rather than lenders, to substantial financial risk due to the difference between Treasury and commercial paper borrowing rates.