Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act
© Getty Images

President BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE on Monday celebrated the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a sweeping civil rights law, and announced a new program to help Americans experiencing long-term COVID-19 symptoms and conditions.

“For our nation, the ADA is more than a law as well, it’s a testament to our character as a people, our character as Americans,” Biden said in the Rose Garden.

Biden, as a senator, was a co-sponsor of the legislation, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various settings, including places of employment, schools, community living and transportation.


“31 years ago after its passage, many Americans have never lived in a world without the ADA,” Biden said.

“We passed the ADA and made a commitment to building a nation for all of us, all of us,” Biden added. “Perhaps most importantly, we did it together. This was a Democratic bill signed by a Republican president.”

Then-President George H.W. Bush signed the federal civil rights act into law in 1990. Biden said he had just gotten off the phone with former Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinFCC needs to help services for the deaf catch up to videoconferencing tech Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Ex-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa MORE (D-Iowa) and spoke to former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), days prior. Both former senators spearheaded the legislation at the time.

“Today, too many Americans still face barriers,” Biden said, noting that on his first day in office he signed an executive order to establish a government-wide commitment to advancing equity, including for those with disabilities.

He announced on Monday a new effort for Americans with long-term COVID-19 impacts, so symptoms of “long COVID-19” could qualify as a disability under the ADA.


The guidance does not automatically qualify long COVID-19 as a disability but people experiencing long-term symptoms or conditions can get an “individualized assessment” to determine the condition “substantially limits a major life activity.”

The Department of Health and Human Services also released a guide on Monday about services provided by community-based organizations to help individuals experiencing long-term symptoms after contracting COVID-19.

“We made important progress but we will have work to do,” Biden said, calling for Congress to eliminate the “discriminatory” sub-minimum wage provision.

Biden then signed a proclamation recognizing the 31st anniversary of the bill being signed into law. He called those dealing with disabilities an “inspiration.”

Vice President Harris, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden pushes back at Democrats on taxes Yarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Of partisan fights and follies, or why Democrats should follow Manchin, not Sanders MORE (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBudget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda MORE (D-Md.), former Rep. Tony Coelho (D-Calif.), and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPhotos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' MORE (D-Vt.) were on the stage with Biden during the proclamation signing.

“Pat, you were there at the time. Get your rear end up here,” Biden said to Leahy before the signing.

Biden was also joined by Maryland artist Tyree Brown, who introduced the president before his remarks.

Harris spoke earlier at the event and called the ADA a very important beginning, but said there is more work to be done.

“The ADA gives all Americans the opportunity to determine their own future. Self-determination, which I believe the government must facilitate, that is the impact of the ADA and after all, the promise of America,” she said.

“The president and I will continue to fight with you to make America more accessible to all people,” she added.

Second gentleman Doug EmhoffDoug EmhoffBush calls out domestic extremism in 9/11 speech Bush urges Americans on 9/11 to embrace unity, reject politics of 'fear' Harris in Shanksville honors heroism, courage of Flight 93 passengers MORE was also in attendance, as well as Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyThe Trojan Horse of protectionism Caring for the whole life and the whole woman is hard, but right Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees MORE (D-Pa.), Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeSanders goes back to 2016 playbook to sell .5T budget Activists detail legal fight against HUD for Philadelphia housing Photos of the Week: Rep. Cori Bush, Beirut clash and duck derby MORE, Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaAs COVID-19 drags on, it is more important than ever to assess K-12 students In the showdown over masks in K-12 schools, who will blink first? Education Department opens civil rights probe into Florida mask mandate ban MORE, Rep. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinBipartisan House group introduces legislation to set term limit for key cyber leader House panel approves B boost for defense budget Democratic lawmakers urge DHS to let Afghans stay in US MORE (D-R.I.) and Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDemocrats hit crunch time for passing Biden agenda Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Now is the time to end the subminimum wage for people with disabilities MORE (D-Va.).