What Is the Price of Legislative Happiness for People With Disabilities in The USA?

Author: Pavel Kuljuk Contact: Contact details
Published: 2023/12/27
Peer Reviewed: N/A – Post type: Opinion Article / Editorial
Table of Contents: SummaryMain article

Synopsis: Improving the political rights of people with disabilities in the United States is not a street revolution, but an evolution of legislation. Having money to lobby is only half the battle. If the required amount is raised, this does not mean that there will be a victory. After all, the adoption of a federal law that simplifies voting for people with disabilities and/or the election of people with disabilities to elected office can complicate the economic activity of entire sectors of the economy.

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Main summary

The cost of lobbying for federal disability laws can range “from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.” People with disabilities can raise this money. But this does not guarantee victory in the money war! Because opponents of the laws can raise even more money to counter the lobby.

The lobby is a way out of a situation of stagnation

Improving the political rights of people with disabilities in the United States is not a street revolution, but an evolution of legislation. However, this evolution is hampered by a couple of problems. The first problem is that people with disabilities cannot make the laws they need on their own. This is because people with disabilities are disproportionately represented in elected positions.

As we discovered above:

“People with disabilities represent 15.7% of the country’s adult population. However, people with disabilities hold only 10.3% of all elected positions. This is 5.4% less than their proportion in the total adult population. At the same time, at the state and federal levels At all levels, people with disabilities occupy only 6.9% and 6.3% of elected positions, which is two times less than the proportion total number of people with disabilities in the US population. Overall, people with disabilities hold 3,793 of the 36,779 elected offices in the United States. “. (1)

The second problem is that non-disabled legislators cannot provide effective assistance to disabled people at the federal level to adopt the laws that disabled people need. This is hampered by the political struggle between the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States. Only the combined efforts of these two political parties can improve the situation. However, according to political consultants, this will not be possible in the near future. (2)

As a result, disabled people cannot help themselves. Disabled people cannot depend on outside help. But disabled people would not become disabled if they gave up. There is always a third option. And that option could be money! The money allows people with disabilities to activate the lobbying mechanism for the adoption of necessary laws at the federal level. Lobbying is a legal activity in the United States. The demand for this service is constantly growing. This demonstrates the effectiveness of lobbying. In 1998, $1.45 billion was spent on lobbying services in the United States. In 2022, lobbying expenses amounted to $4.09 billion! (3)

In the current situation, lobbying is a natural way to solve the problem. The necessary laws can be passed without increasing the proportion of people with disabilities in elected office and without Republicans and Democrats forming a political alliance. Nothing personal, just business! Disabled people can use lobby services.

What is the price of legal happiness for disabled people in the United States?

Political consultants said about the possible cost of lobbying.

All of them were asked a question:

How much might it cost to lobby for a federal law in the interest of people with disabilities?

“There is no good way to answer that question without more details of the legislation. The way a bill is written, even if just a few words differ from another version of the bill, could mean drastic changes in how much spending would be needed to push for passage of a bill, and whether or not a bill would have a good chance of passing,” said Capitol City Research CEO and founder Willis Jones.

“The cost would depend on several factors, such as the complexities and scope of the proposed law, the level of opposition and resistance, the resources and strategies employed by the lobbying firm, and the duration of the lobbying effort.”

“In general, lobbying efforts at the federal level can be quite expensive, and estimates can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Larger lobbying firms with extensive networks and resources may charge higher fees for their services. Additionally, the costs of organizing a grassroots advocacy campaign, mobilizing community support, and conducting research and outreach activities contribute to the total cost.”

“It is important to note that the actual cost can only be determined after detailed discussions and analysis of the specific circumstances surrounding the proposed law and the lobbying effort. Consulting with a professional lobbying firm or advocacy organization would obtain a more accurate estimate “based on this unique situation,” said policy and legal strategist Sabrina Newby.

As we can see, it is very difficult to determine the cost of lobbying without a specific law. However, experts admit that prices can reach “from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.” This is not a small amount. But this money is available to disabled people in the United States. For example, in 2012, the United Spinal Association alone spent $330,000 on lobbying services. (4) Other disability organizations spend tens of thousands of dollars annually on lobbying services. (5) That is, by joining forces, the American disability community can raise millions of dollars to lobby for the necessary federal law.

The hidden problem that hinders the lobby

Having money to lobby is only half the battle. If the required amount is raised, this does not mean that there will be a victory. After all, the adoption of a federal law that simplifies voting for people with disabilities and/or the election of people with disabilities to elected office can complicate the economic activity of entire sectors of the economy. As this will require additional costs on the part of many companies and organizations to comply with this law. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act adopted in 1990 (6) cost the telecommunications industry $300 million a year and the private bus industry $200 million a year. (7)

These large financial losses force commercial structures to exercise counter-lobbying, which prevents the adoption of laws that cause problems. American history shows that people with disabilities have less money to lobby than businesses. Companies spend much more money lobbying for their interests than people with disabilities.

That is, the success of people with disabilities lobbying for the necessary law depends largely not on money, but on the actions of the business community. Are American businesses willing to endure financial losses for the convenience of people with disabilities? This is the main question. When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, representatives of the telecommunications industry and bus owners did not interfere in this. However, no one knows how companies will behave when the new law is adopted.

Conclusion

Lobbying makes sense if the business community perceives the change in legislation positively. To find out, it is necessary to carry out sociological research. It is also necessary to unite the efforts of disabled people’s organizations at the federal level to exert pressure. That is, we are talking about the largest project that people with disabilities will have to implement after the year 2000. If this project is implemented, it will not be until after the 2024 presidential elections.

References:

1) https://www.disabled-world.com/news/politics.php

2) https://www.disabled-world.com/editorials/political/politicians-disabled.php

3) https://www.statista.com/statistics/257337/total-lobbying-spending-in-the-us/

4) https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2013/03/powerful-interests-oppose-strengthening-of-disabilities-law/

5) https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/lobbyists?cycle=2021&id=D000054227

6) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americans_with_Disabilities_Act_of_1990

7) https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1989/08/19/business-not-fighting-bill-for-disabled/3a1531de-5d5b-43df-9ca6-d7dd63fcda35/

See also:

Equality amendments could increase political influence of disabled people

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Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to disabled people, older people, their families and/or carers. Visit our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories, and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media like X.com and ours Facebook page.

Permanent link: What is the price of legislative happiness for people with disabilities in the US?

Cite this page (APA): Pavel Kuljuk. (2023, December 27). What is the price of legislative happiness for people with disabilities in the United States? Disabled world. Retrieved December 29, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/editorials/political/legislative-happiness.php

Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never intended to be a substitute for qualified professional medical care. Any third party offers or advertisements do not constitute an endorsement.

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