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THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON
April 21, 1989

MEMORANDUM FOR GOVERNOR  SUNUNU
FROM:ROGER B. PORTER (SIGNED)
DAVID Q. BATES (SIGNED)
SUBJECT:Development of Administration Disability Policy

The President has long favored improving opportunities for disabled Americans. Last year, he said, “I share your goal of integrating disabled Americans fully and equally into the mainstream of American life …. We are working to increase the economic and personal independence of disabled Americans.”

This memorandum is to bring you up to date on the work underway to respond to the President’s interest in this issue.

Since this issue has such widespread impacts in both the public and private sectors, it its extraordinarily important that Administration policy be developed carefully, but expeditiously. Many members of Congress are also intensely interested, and we need to insure that we have their thinking and views as we develop policy on this issue.

In order better to coordinate the development of Administration disability policy, Attorney General Thornburgh has established a Domestic Policy Council Working Group on Disability Policy. It has representatives from many departments and agencies, including Evan Kemp, from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The working group is presently preparing a detailed work plan including Administration disability policy principles to guide the refining of specific policy initiatives.

It is vital that thorough analysis and coordination with affected groups be undertaken as part of this process. The following assignments have been made:

  • The Office of Management and Budget is coordinating agency and departmental evaluations of proposed changes involving activities that relate to their departments. These evaluations include the Department of Commerce, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Federal Communications Commission.
  • The Council of Economic Advisers will perform analyses of the economic impacts of potential policy and program changes on the public and private sectors.
  • The Counsel’s Office will contact disability community leaders to ask them to develop estimates of economic benefits which would result from effective legislation in this area, since such economic benefits might offset some of the costs that result from such legislation.
  • The working group will discuss the problems and issues in this area with the business community and gather information that they may have on the possible impacts on their activities.
  • The Office of Legislative Affairs will coordinate contacts with members of Congress who are working on legislation on disability policy.
  • The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs will assess the potential impact of legislation in this area on state and local governments by undertaking discussions with groups representing these governments.

We believe that this consultative process and policy development activity will take many weeks, perhaps as long as three months. It is important that the options presented to the President, through the Domestic Policy Council, reflect the President’s commitment for action in disability policy. It is also important that the President’s proposals be based on sound and thorough analysis.

As the working group makes progress, we will provide you with regular reports.

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