Levin Floor Statement on the ABLE Act

Dec 3, 2014

WASHINGTON – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today made the following statement on the House floor in support of H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act:

With this bill, we can help the tens of millions of Americans living with disabilities become more financially secure.

Just as families today can open tax-free accounts to save for the future costs of college for their children, this legislation would make it easier for families to save money for disability-related expenses like transportation, housing, and health prevention and wellness. The ABLE Act aims to ease the financial burden on these individuals and their families.

I applaud the efforts of Congressmen Crenshaw, Van Hollen, Sessions, and Chairman Camp, among others.

CBO estimates the cost of the bill at $2 billion over 10 years. The bill is paid for through $638 million in revenue offsets and $1.4 billion in spending cuts.

There has been active bipartisan work on paying for this bill. And there is broad agreement on the revenue offsets.

There is some opposition to the Medicare offsets included in the bill because the legislation uses Medicare savings for non-health purposes.

We have challenges ahead, including important work on SGR.

I understand the concern about Medicare offsets, and think it is important as we proceed on this bill to stress that it must not be considered a precedent for using Medicare savings to pay for unrelated costs associated with tax changes.

The ABLE Act provides much needed relief to families and their children with disabilities. This is an important step forward for them in a very personal way, and I support its passage.