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United Spinal Association Joins National Disability Leaders for Historic Meeting at the White House
Date:4/20/2009

WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an unprecedented effort to increase access to the executive branch and promote equal rights for people with disabilities, President Obama invited CEOs from the Nation's top disability organizations, including Paul J. Tobin, United Spinal Association's President (www.unitedspinal.org), to participate in a White House briefing on the Administration's disability policy initiatives, and budget and recovery plans.

The invitation was the first time that an administration demonstrated a serious effort to provide people with disabilities an opportunity to influence domestic policy in a meaningful fashion. The President is also looking to employ people with disabilities in key positions based on merit, not as figureheads or solely in disability policy positions.

The meeting was organized by Kareem Dale, special assistant to the President for Disability Policy, who said, "This is truly a new day for people with disabilities."

Mr. Tobin said, "I am honored to be a part of this momentous gathering and commend the Administration for its willingness to host candid discussions on critical disability issues."

Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the President added, "Consider us to be your partners."

The President has proposed a four-part plan (http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/DisabilityPlanFactSheet.pdf) to empower people with disabilities, including increased educational opportunities by fully funding the Individuals with Education Act (IDEA); more employment opportunities by reinstating an executive order to hire an additional 100,000 people with disabilities within 5 years; improved funding for enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and amending Medicare rules that tend to restrict people with disabilities to their homes and nursing homes.

About United Spinal Association

United Spinal (www.unitedspinal.org/) is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post polio. It has played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with spinal cord disorders.

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Paul Tobin

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SOURCE United Spinal Association
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