As long as they are ABLE
Congress has not often been as polarized as it has been for most of the Obama presidency. Consequently, it rarely has been less productive.
In a congressional election year amid such an atmosphere, one would think that members of Congress would search for issues to help them bridge the political chasm for the sake of getting something done.
One possibility is the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, ABLE. The bill would allow parents to open tax-deferred savings plans for their disabled children's long-term expenses, much like the "529" plans that parents use to save for their kids' college costs. Covered expenses would include education, housing, transportation, therapy, rehabilitation and helpful technology.
Sen. Bob Casey, cosponsor of the bill with Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, introduced it recently in the Senate by citing the case of Sara Wolff, 31, of Moscow, who has Down syndrome. She works in a law office and receives supplemental security income benefits, for which she would become ineligible if she accumulates more than $2,000 in assets. It makes far more sense to allow her to accumulate savings for future use, which would become possible under ABLE.
The bill has 324 House sponsors and 60 in the Senate, including Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, so it would seem destined to pass. Yet it has been introduced repeatedly since 2006 without passing.
It's easy and popular to sponsor such a bill; now it's time for a vote.