Being ABLE to Work

Jun 27, 2017 | Communications •

No matter your background or walk of life, House Republicans want you to be empowered to pursue your own unique version of the American Dream.

As House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) often says, that often starts with having a job. Last week the People’s House passed two bills that help Americans learn the skills needed to be competitive in the modern workforce.

But our work doesn’t stop there.

House Republicans are hard at work advocating for communities that are under-represented in the workforce, particularly the disability community.

Did you know that in 2016, only 17.9 percent of Americans with disabilities were employed? These numbers have remained largely the same for the past 25 years. Chair McMorris Rodgers has made it a mission of hers to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else, which is why earlier this year, she introduced a legislative package, called “ABLE 2.0,” that empowers people with disabilities to work and live their lives to the fullest.

As a way to show successful partnerships between the disability community and employers,Chair McMorris Rodgers led a tour with Small Business Committee Chair Steve Chabot (R-OH), House Administration Committee Chair Gregg Harper (R-MS), and Reps. John Katko (R-NY) and Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) of Capital Candy Jar’s workspace at Union Kitchen in Washington, D.C.

Capital Candy Jar employs people with disabilities, and these House Republicans wanted to learn more about their employees’ use of ABLE accounts and discuss improvements that can be made, such as the ABLE to Work Act, to allow more individuals with disabilities to participate in the workforce. Click here to learn more about ABLE 2.0.

Washington Post Politics joined the tour and live streamed on their Facebook page. Check it out:

House Republicans heard from advocates from the disability community about the importance of getting individuals with disabilities into competitive, integrated employment.

Here’s what these House Republicans had to say about the importance of this visit:

“Too many people with disabilities live in a cycle of poverty,” said Chair McMorris Rodgers. “We should be defined by our potential, not by our limits. The men and women we met during this tour are a reminder to us all that a job is a source of dignity and fulfillment. Our legislation will help more people with disabilities find work and save more of their earnings.”

Chairman Chabot: “It was great to visit the Capital Candy Jar and witness firsthand how they employ and train people with disabilities, thereby empowering them to live their lives to the fullest.”  

“I truly enjoyed joining Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers and my colleagues at the Capital Candy Jar,” said Rep. Katko “Most especially, I enjoyed the opportunity to bring a friend, constituent, and NDSS Self-Advocate, Kayla, to participate in our tour and roundtable discussion.  Kayla is a tremendous advocate for people with Down Syndrome and disabilities both in my district in Central New York and nationwide.  I will continue to work in Congress to ensure people of all abilities are able to live fully integrated and self-directed lives.”

“This was an incredibly rewarding experience,” said Rep. Poliquin. “It’s inspiring to see those with disabilities carrying out such rewarding work. It’s important we give everyone the opportunity to pursue their careers and succeed independently.”

“It is always a pleasure to see those with a significant disability gainfully employed,” said Chairman Gregg Harper. “As a parent of an adult son with a disability, I know firsthand that with the proper training and support, even individuals with severe disabilities can do meaningful work. As a legislator, I know that if people with disabilities are going to get off of government assistance and support themselves, our tax, wage, and disability laws must be updated to accommodate their needs. I want to say thank you to Capital Candy Jar and to similar employers for doing their part. Now it is time for Congress to do its part; ABLE Act was just the first step.”