WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced a joint resolution to declare federal support of the Americans with Disabilities Act and legislation requiring infrastructure constructed with public funds be made fully accessible to all. Hayes and Blumenthal were joined by Reps. Joe Courtney (CT-02), Jim Himes (CT-04), Susie Lee (NV-03), Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Don Young (AK), and Jim Langevin (RI-02).
This declaration of U.S. policy is in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, one of the most widely supported international treaties. Ratified by more than 85% of United Nations member states, the Convention recognizes global disability rights in various areas, including infrastructure design, communications and accessibility.
“Government buildings must be accessible for all Americans. Unfortunately, this is not currently the reality,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “This resolution reaffirms our commitment to removing barriers that block opportunity for those living with disabilities. Every person deserves respect and equal protection under the law. The passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides us with an opportunity to fulfill the promise of equity, and this resolution does that.”
“This resolution reaffirms every American’s right to equal opportunity and access. The Americans with Disabilities Act was a landmark effort to tear down barriers and obstacles, but our work is far from over,” said Senator Blumenthal. “I’m proud to join my colleagues as we continue the fight to ensure all publicly funded services and accommodations remain open, inclusive, and accessible to all.”
The resolution is in line with work done over the past several years. Congresswoman Hayes has supported legislation to increase wages and phase out subminimum wages for individuals with disabilities and fought for increased funding for home care and community-based services (HCBS) for eligible persons with disabilities. In March 2021, Congresswoman Hayes voted for the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which provided relief for people with disabilities, including additional support for behavioral health services and a major investment in HCBS. During the 116th Congress, Congresswoman Hayes and Senator Blumenthal introduced H.Con.Res. 80, another resolution recognizing the need to improve physical access to federally funded facilities.
In November 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law. This historic, bipartisan legislation enhances transportation systems for individuals with disabilities. Specifically, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:
- Provides $5 billion toward improving airport terminals, with preference given to projects that expand accessibility and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance;
- Invests $250 million in transit-related grants that specifically enhance the mobility of aging adults and people with disabilities; and
- Dedicates $39 billion to modernize transit and improve accessibility for aging adults and people with disabilities, with $1.75 billion specifically for the All Stations Accessibility Program that will make rail stations accessible to all users and fully compliant with the ADA.
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year