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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 14, 2004
Contact: Deborah Buck www.ataporg.org
(Washington, DC) President Bush today signed the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, which will ensure that individuals with disabilities throughout the US and its territories have access to the technology they need to help them be independent in school, at home, the workplace and in the community. This legislation represents an important commitment to people with disabilities from the President and the Congress.
Millions of people with disabilities rely on assistive technology to help them gain and maintain independence. Every state and US territory has an Assistive Technology Act Program (AT Program) funded under the provisions of the Technology-Related Assistance Act of 1988. Legislation supporting the State AT Programs was scheduled to sunset on September 30, 2004. The AT Act of 2004 supports the continuance of State AT Programs and eliminates the sunset provision. By eliminating the sunset provision, the government sent a clear signal that it supports a federal investment for people with disabilities, which will pay off for communities, the economy, businesses and people with disabilities.
"The impressive bi-partisan effort of Congress to ensure the continuation of these vital programs is heartening for people with disabilities and the programs that serve them," said Deborah Buck, Executive Director, Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs. "We are so pleased with the bipartisan bi-cameral leadership of Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA). When the Congress puts aside partisanship in order to address the needs of people with disabilities, it is a victory for all Americans."
The Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) worked for several years to educate Congress about the significance of the Act in the lives of people with disabilities. Joined by other national disability organizations, technology companies and business representatives, ATAP shared with Congress the many successes of the programs and the difference the law can make for people with disabilities. ATAP salutes the Congress and the President for their important work in reauthorizing this law and removing the sunset provision.
The Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) is a national, member-based organization comprised of state Assistive Technology Programs funded under the Assistive Technology Act. www.ataporg.org