The following letter was signed by members of the MDA National Task Force Steering Committee, individually addressed and mailed on June 14, 1995, to:
Rep. Richard K. Armey, House Majority Leader
Sen. Robert Dole, Senate Majority Leader
Rep. Richard Gephardt, Speaker of the House
Rep. Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House
Sen. Thomas Daschele, Senate Minority Leader
Sen. Bill Frist, Chair, Subcommittee on Disability Policy
Sen. Bill Roth, Chair, Committee on Government Affairs
RE: EXPRESSION OF STRONG SUPPORT FOR THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
The Muscular Dystrophy Association's National Task Force on Public Awareness is a group of adults affected by neuromuscular diseases who advise MDA about issues of importance to people served by the Association. Many of the more than a million individuals in the U.S. with neuromuscular diseases have greatly benefited from the rights and opportunities afforded them through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
MDA has been a staunch supporter of the passage, implementation and strong enforcement of the ADA. The Act has significantly improved the quality of life of those served by MDA, and of people with disabilities in general. Among other things, the ADA has granted people with neuromuscular diseases greater access to equal employment opportunity, public transportation, places of public accommodation and telecommunication services. Through the ADA, people with disabilities have become more fully integrated into all aspects of American life. In doing so, the ADA has assisted individuals with disabilities in actively redefining what it means to be a person with a disability in contemporary American society, in the most empowering, pride-evoking terms.
Despite the profound benefits the ADA has wrought for people with disabilities and America in general, lately the Act has come under attack by certain members of the media and Congress as costly and disruptive. Contrary to the misinformation promulgated by these individuals, there have not been, nor will there ever be, bankruptcies because of the ADA. The ADA specifically provides that no business or public entity can be required to make any accommodation that will result in undue hardship. Indeed, the ADA has been extremely cost-effective for America by helping people with disabilities to become taxpayers rather than tax consumers; by helping us to live productive lives, integrated in our communities rather than live in costly, segregated institutions; and by helping to give new purchasing power to a largely untapped market of 49 million consumers with disabilities. Clearly, the ADA is good for business and good for America.
Given the progress made by people with disabilities and our nation in general through the ADA, we urge that you support measures that will ensure that the strength of both the language of the ADA and the regulations enforcing the Act are not compromised. It is only through a strong ADA and a federal government committed to enforcing this Act that we can move toward a nation of equal access and opportunity for all.
Very truly yours,
The Members of the Steering Committee of the
MDA National Task Force on Public Awareness
/s William. Altaffer, Esq.
/s Lori Hinderer
/s Shelley C. Obrand
/s Chris Rosa
/s David A. Sheffield, Esq.