House GOP Stages Attack On Disabled Americans While Nation Mourns Shooting Victims

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While the nation is in the midst of mourning the tragic shooting that took place at a Florida high school earlier this week, GOP lawmakers are seemingly using the distracted attention as an opportunity to push some of their most egregious legislation yet through Congress. Early on Thursday, House Republicans led by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) voted to pass House Resolution 620 (H.R. 620), otherwise known as the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.

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In one of the most egregious moves since the Trump administration took office, H.R. 620 directly targets the anti-discrimination and equal opportunity laws provided to those who suffer from disabilities, specifically in regards to their access to employment. The new resolution implemented a revised provision to the original American Disabilities Act of 1990, placing the burden on the shoulders of the person discriminated against, rather than holding the business itself accountable.

More specifically, the revised portion outlines that if a person believes their access during employment was discriminated against due to their disability, they must go through a lengthy process of notifying the business owner of their belief, specifying exactly why they feel their civil rights had been violated, and then wait another six months to see whether or not the business is making any form of substantial improvement in their practices, before they are able to take the matter up in court.

Aside from the sheer fact that the revision is an attack on someone who may be less capable of fending for themselves in such a drawn out and legally-clouded process, the vague nature of the language present in the resolution provides an easy avenue for companies to disregard compliance for years at a time. So long as the business can prove they are making “substantial progress”, which in and of itself is not concretely defined, then they are essentially granted an endless amount of time to remain non-compliant to the needs of disabled employees.

Putting the interests of a business over that of a less-fortunate citizen sheds light on the ongoing attacks on basic rights and equal opportunity that the Trump administration has pushed over the last year. Civil rights groups and Democrats in Congress have begun spreading the news more adamantly, providing concerned citizens with actionable things they can do to help mitigate the impact of the detrimental resolution.

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