Press Releases

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WASHINGTON – Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) joined supporters on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol today to celebrate the House’s passage of the ADA Amendments Act.

Sponsored by Hatch and Harkin, the bipartisan bill (S. 3406) clarifies the intent of Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and ensures that all Americans with disabilities are protected from discrimination. The legislation unanimously passed the Senate last week and now will be sent to the president for his signature.

“This is momentous day,” Hatch said after the House passed the bill. “The original ADA signed into law 18 years ago was a landmark piece of legislation. So is this bill, which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to maximize opportunities for our fellow citizens with disabilities so that they, too, can live the American Dream. It further demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, disability and business groups can work together. I’m proud to be standing again alongside my friend Tom Harkin and our friends in the House, including former Congressman Tony Coelho, in this great cause.”

After the original ADA was signed into law, the Supreme Court construed the ADA’s definition in a way that narrowed its coverage. The ADA Amendments Act effectively overrules those decisions and once again broadens the ADA’s coverage.

“This legislation provides generous protection for individuals with disabilities and better guides the courts in consistently implementing that protection,” added Hatch, who was the lead Republican in the development and passage of the original ADA.

The ADA Amendments Act, which unanimously passed the Senate on Sept. 11, is supported by a broad grassroots coalition of disability, business and veterans groups.