Bush Unveils $1B Plan to Help Disabled
As expected, President Bush yesterday unveiled his $1 billion, five-year New Freedom Initiative, which would help individuals with disabilities to purchase homes and work at "challenging jobs," the Washington Post reports.
In a "show of respect" for those in wheelchairs who joined him at the White House ceremony, Bush sat behind a 37-inch-high podium as he introduced the initiative (McQuillan,
USA Today, 2/2). Bush said, "I've often talked about the goal of a welcoming society, a nation where no one is dismissed or forgotten. Our progress toward that goal is really the great American story. It is a story of inclusion and protection, extending across our history to more and more Americans" (Washington Post, 2/2). He added, "We must speed up the day when the last barrier has been removed to full and independent lives for every American with or without disability" (USA Today, 2/2).
Advocates for people with disabilities "warmly hailed" Bush's plan, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said, "This is great stuff. I'm very impressed." Alan Reich, president of the National Organization on Disability, added, "Having the president address our concerns in such a comprehensive way early in his administration augurs well for the one-fifth of the population who live with disabilities" (Los Angeles Times, 2/2). Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), the first quadriplegic elected to the House, said that he also was "pleasantly surprised" that Bush chose to address the issue so early. But he added, "I still want to look at the details. But I'm encouraged" (Greene, Baltimore Sun, 2/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.