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President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) (7/26/00)

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The Briefing Room
            Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington D.C.
                               July 26, 2000

Today, President Clinton, joined by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, will
celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), by taking new action to further the goals of the ADA. These actions
include 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 also will 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.

Also at the event, 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.

For people with disabilities, the ADA is analogous to the Civil Rights Act
of 1964. It provides the basic foundation of nondiscrimination against
people with disabilities in the areas of employment, state and local
governments, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The ADA was
signed into law on July 26, 1990.

The President will be introduced at the event by Justin Dart, Jr. Mr. Dart,
a 1998 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, has spent five
decades advocating for human rights in the United States and abroad. He has
served five gubernatorial, one Congressional and five Presidential
appointments in the area of disability policy.

Mr. Dart also will present President Clinton with a replica of the "Spirit
of ADA" torch.  In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the ADA, the
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is the national
host of the "Spirit of ADA Torch Relay? which includes: 1) a "Spirit of
ADA" Pledge renewing commitment to the rights of people with disabilities;
and 2) a nationwide torch relay from June 11 to August 7.  Vice President
Gore, Members of the Cabinet and other Administration officials have
participated in events at relay sites across the country.  The "Spirit of
ADA" torch officially arrived in Washington, D.C. yesterday at an event
also held at the FDR Memorial.

At the event, the National Anthem will be sung by Beth Gray, a 19-year old
vocalist from North Little Rock, Arkansas, who has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia.
A sophomore at Ouachita Baptist University, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Ms.
Gray is on a vocal scholarship and is majoring in Choral Music Education.
She is a 2000 Panasonic Young Soloist Award recipient, and has had
opportunities to perform at the Kennedy Center and the Russian Embassy.
Earlier this year, Beth was crowned Miss West Central Arkansas and recently
finished in the top 10 at the Miss Arkansas Pageant.

The President, the First Lady and the program participants will be joined
on stage by 10 young people who have diverse disabilities and symbolize the
next generation of disability advocates, whose achievement has made
possible by the ADA (Please see attached list).

The following Administration officials will be in attendance: Secretary of
Commerce Norman Mineta, Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, Acting Secretary
of Veterans Affairs Hershel Gober, Office of Personnel Management Director
Janice Lachance, Social Security Administration Commissioner Kenneth Apfel,
and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chairwoman Ida Castro.

The following members of Congress are expected to attend: Sen. James
Jeffords; Sen. Ted Kennedy; Sen. Carl Levin; Sen. Arlen Specter; Rep.
Benjamin Cardin; Rep. Eliot Engel; Rep Steny Hoyer; Rep. Sander Levin; Rep.
Jim McDermott; Rep. Michael McNulty; Rep. Connie Morella; Rep. Major Owens;
and Rep. Donald Payne. The following former members of Congress are also
expected to attend: Former Sen. Howard Metzenbaum; Former Rep. Lowell
Weicker; Former Rep. and Chairman of the President's Committee on
Employment of People with Disabilities Tony Coelho and Former Rep. Steve

The audience of approximately 1,750 people also will include disability
advocates, members of the civil rights community and other distinguished

Order of Events:
Beth Gray sings the National Anthem
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton makes remarks
Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) makes remarks
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) makes remarks
Justin Dart makes remarks and presents President Clinton with the ADA
Ceremonial torch
President Clinton makes remarks and concludes ceremony.


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