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Senate Proceeding on Jul 22nd, 2010 :: 0:43:15 to 1:05:25
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Tom Harkin

0:43:12 to 0:43:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and i'm grateful to have been able to have played a small role in helping him to do mr. harkin: well, madam president, i'll just say, it was not a small role. the senator from utah played a gigantic role in making sure we got this done. and as i said earlier, in working to get the a.d.a. act amendments passed three years ago, and we worked on that for,

Tom Harkin

0:43:15 to 1:05:25( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Harkin

Tom Harkin

0:43:33 to 0:43:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: gee, four years or something like that to get that done. and we were all down at the white house. it's interesting, the first president bush signed the first a.d.a. into law. the second president bush signed the a.d.a. act amendments into law. interesting juxtaposition, they're father and son. but i thank the senator from

Tom Harkin

0:43:56 to 0:44:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: utah for everything. madam president, i had mentioned earlier all of the members of the senate who had been so helpful. i'd also like to mention on the house side that we prevailed because of outstanding leadership of people like congressman steny hoyer, who's now the majority leader, congressman tony coelho, congressman steve bartlett, a republican leader in the house

Tom Harkin

0:44:17 to 0:44:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: at that time, and the final vote in the house of representatives house was 377-27. and so -- and there was the white house. boboyden gray, counsel to george h.w. bush, worked with us every step of the way. and i say, as i've said so many times, without boyden gray being

Tom Harkin

0:44:39 to 0:44:59( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: there, we couldn't have gotten this done. and so i'm always grateful to him for his leadership in working from the white house with us. and one other person who was with us every step of the way and continues to provide so much leadership in the area of disability rights is then-attornegeneral dick

Tom Harkin

0:45:00 to 0:45:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: thornburgh. what a champion he was and is. i shouldn't just put it in the past tense. dick thornburgh remains today just, again, one of the preeminent people in america who keeps focused, keeps focused on what we're doing as society to make sure that people with

Tom Harkin

0:45:24 to 0:45:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: disabilities have full access, opportunity in our society. and then there's the disability rights community. this wouldn't have happened without the tireless and the courageous, unstoppable work of so many activists in the disability community. i think of people like ed

Tom Harkin

0:45:45 to 0:46:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: roberts, now passed on, bob williams, pat wright, wade blank, so many others. and of course everyone leadership of the late justin dart who was the chairperson of theresident's committee on employment of people with disabilities. only one person's name is specifically mentioned in the resolution we will be voting on

Tom Harkin

0:46:08 to 0:46:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this morning, and that name is justin dart. as i've said many times, i may have been the principal author of t a.d.a., but justin dart was the father of the a.d.a., and history will recognize and honor his great contribution. here is an individual, used a wheelchair most of his life, who was just unstoppable.

Tom Harkin

0:46:31 to 0:46:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i mean, justin dart traveled to every single state in this nation more than once, well over 100 different cities and communities to promote the americans with disabilities act for about two or three years prio to us bringing it up to get that kind of national

Tom Harkin

0:46:54 to 0:47:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: support for it. he just was everywhere, and he would never give up. and so we remember justin dart as the father of the a.d.a. and no listing of those who made the a.d.a. possible would be complete without my also talking

Tom Harkin

0:47:16 to 0:47:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: about my disability counsel at the time, bobby silverstein, again who was just tireless in this work in bot the drafting, the revising -- senator hatch and i were just reminiscing. there was not even agreement among disability groups on how to do this. and so we would come up with a

Tom Harkin

0:47:38 to 0:47:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: draft, we would meet with to revise. we would meet with other disability groups, we would have to revise it. we would meet with business groups, we would have to revise it. and on and on and on. but slowly, methodically, tirelessly, we got it done and bobby silverstein was there

Tom Harkin

0:47:59 to 0:48:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: every step of the way, as i said, drafting and revising, making sure we didn't lose sight of the goals, making sure we had a bill that could muster support, bipartisan support. no words of mine can express the deep gratitude i have to bobby silverstein for all that he did

Tom Harkin

0:48:22 to 0:48:42( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: to make this possible. so, madam president, i'll never forget the pre-a.d.a. america. i rember how it used to be perfectly acceptable to treat people with disabilities as second-class citizens, exclude them, marginalize them. and here i'll digress for a little bit, talk about my

Tom Harkin

0:48:43 to 0:49:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: brother frank who really was the inspiration for all of my work on disability rights, both in the house before i came to the senate and here in the senate. my brother frank passed away ten years ago, a month before the tenth anniversary of the a.d.a. he always said that he was sorry the a.d.a. was not there for

Tom Harkin

0:49:04 to 0:49:25( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: him, but he was glad it was here now for the younger generation, for those who are now coming so they would have a better future. my brother lost his hearing at a very early age. actually, he was about 6 years old. at that time, there were no mainstream schools, so he was taken from his family -- we

Tom Harkin

0:49:26 to 0:49:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: lived in a small town -- taken from the family, shipped halfway across the state to the iowa school for the deaf. just think about how traumatic this would be. first of all, you lose your hearing, can't hear anything because of spinal meningitis, and then all of a sudden he is picked up, taken away from home,

Tom Harkin

0:49:50 to 0:50:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: sent to a school over by omaha. think how traumatic that is for a little kid like that. and then in school -- and i remember people always spoke about my brother being at the school for the deaf and dumb. now, you young people don't realize this, but it used to be

Tom Harkin

0:50:11 to 0:50:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: very permissible when i was the age of the pages here that people spoke about people who were deaf as deaf and dumb, and schools for the deaf were referred to as schools for the deaf and dumb. i will never forget my brother coming home from school once -- this was later on when he was in high school -- and people were referring to that. they would actually ask him how are things going at the school

Tom Harkin

0:50:33 to 0:50:57( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: for the deaf and dumb? i will never forget my brother saying i may be deaf but i'm not dumb. he refused, he stubbornl refused -- he was kind of a stubborn guy, my brother was -- he stubbornly refused to kind of accept the kind of cloak that society put o him.

Tom Harkin

0:50:58 to 0:51:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in school, he was told in school he could be one of three things. he could be a baker, a printer's assistance or a shoe cobbler. well, he said he didn't want to be any of those things. they said okay, you're going to be a baker then, sohey made him into a baker. well, that's not really what he wanted to do, but that's -- that's what they said. but he kept fighting for this.

Tom Harkin

0:51:20 to 0:51:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: he kept fighting against it. i rember once when i was yoger, he was now out of school, went to a store once. i'll never forget this. and when the salesperson found out that he was deaf and couldn't hear, she looked right through him at me and asked me what he wanted.

Tom Harkin

0:51:41 to 0:52:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: how do i know what he wants? ask him. but that's just the way people were treated. he went to get a driver's license, he was told deaf people don't drive. he broke that barrier down, too. he got a driver's license, bought a car. i remember my brother finally found employment at a plant in des moines.

Tom Harkin

0:52:06 to 0:52:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it was called delavan's, delavan corporation. i got to know mr. delavan later on. i'm now in high school at that time. later on when i was in college. he went out of his way to hire people who were disabled. it was a manufacturing facility, a lot of noise, so he hired a lot of deaf people. they didn't care whether it was noisy or not.

Tom Harkin

0:52:29 to 0:52:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so my brother got a really good job running a very delicate machine that drilled tiny little holes in engines for -- jet engine nossles. it had to be finely made. later on when i was a navy pilot, i found out that the

Tom Harkin

0:52:50 to 0:53:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: engines i was flying at the time were using the very nozzles made by my brother. so i came home one time for christmas -- my brother never got married, and i wasn't married at the time. i came home for christmas and delavan always had a big christmas dinner for all the workers, so i went with my brother to the cistmas dinner. lo and behold, unbeknownst to

Tom Harkin

0:53:11 to 0:53:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: either one of us, they honored him that night because he had been there ten years, he had worked there ten years, and in ten years he hadn't missed one day of work and hadn't been late once in ten years. gave him a nice gold watch. it was really very nice. in 23 years that my brother worked there, he missed three

Tom Harkin

0:53:32 to 0:53:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: days of work, 23 years, because of a blizzard, couldn't make it. and so i -- i tell that story for a couple of reasons. one, because i'm very proud of -- i was very proud of my brother, but also because so many people that i've talked to, employers who have employed people with disabilities will

Tom Harkin

0:53:53 to 0:54:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: tell you that the hardest workers, the most loyal worrs, the most productive workers they have are many times people with disabilities, but they have kind of got to get over the hurdle of hiring them in the first place. but with a little bit of support, some accessibility issues, maybe modifying the

Tom Harkin

0:54:17 to 0:54:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: workplace a little bit, they can get a lot done and they can be the best i have one more story about my brother i have to relate, since i have the floor, and he was such an inspiration to me. i get elected to the senate here in 1984. i come to be sworn in, january, 1985.

Tom Harkin

0:54:38 to 0:54:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: no one in my family has ever been in politics. first of all, to be a congressman was one thing, but to be a senator, wow. so my whole family came for the swearing in and my brother frank, and i remember back up in this here, january, 1985. i put him up there, and i had

Tom Harkin

0:54:59 to 0:55:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: gotten an interpreter. this is the sign language for interpreter. so i h for my brother for this gallery right back here. i got him seated up there and i came back down on the floor. i looked up and i saw one of my other brothers, one of my hearing brothers motioning to

Tom Harkin

0:55:20 to 0:55:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: me, so i went back up there and my brother john said the guard up there won't let the interpreter stand up there. so i went out to see the guard, the person, the doorkeeper, i said my brother, i need an interpreter there. no, we can't allow people to stand in the gallery up there

Tom Harkin

0:55:41 to 0:56:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: like that and interpret. well, i -- it can't be so. well, the rules are rules. so i came down here on the floor. at that time, senator bob dole was the majority leader of the senate. senator dole, who had a disability himself because of his war wounds, and who in his maiden speech on the senate floor when he was first elected was about disability rights.

Tom Harkin

0:56:04 to 0:56:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so i go to the majority leader, who was a republican leader, and i said -- and i didn't know him that well. i said mr. leader, i said here's the situation. my brother is up there, i'm being sworn in, i need an interpreter, and they won't let him in, won't let the interpreter in. senator dole said i'll take care of it, and he did he got the interpreter up there.

Tom Harkin

0:56:25 to 0:56:45( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that's how things were. now we have places for people with disabilities, the can come and sit with their families. we have interpreters. we have closed-captioning. so no longer do we discriminate against people who are at least deaf or disabled here who want to come into the capitol. so many changes have been made to the capitol.

Tom Harkin

0:56:46 to 0:57:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we have a full office down in the capitol now just for people with disabilities to take tours of the capitol. we have interpreters for people who are blind. we have bass relief models of all the floors so as they go through the main rotunda and the

Tom Harkin

0:57:07 to 0:57:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: senate chambers and the house chambers and as they go through the old supreme court, they can feel with their hands what it looks like. all accessible now. all accessible. so again i talk about the things that happened to my brother, it sounds like something out of the medieval past.

Tom Harkin

0:57:30 to 0:57:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so we have kind of hopefully -- we're overcoming, i don't say we're complete but we're overcoming this false dichotomy between disabled and able. we recognize that people with disabilities, like everyone, have unique aptitudes, unique abilities, talents, and we know that america is a better and a fairer and richer nation when we make full use of the gifts that

Tom Harkin

0:57:52 to 0:58:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: people have. i think one of the things that a.d.a. has done is it's infused, i think, in so many people the idea that we should look at people not with their disabilities but what are they able to do, what are your abilities. don't tell me what your disabilities are. what are your abilities?

Tom Harkin

0:58:17 to 0:58:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that is a major step forward. so, madam president, the day the d.a. passed i can honestly say was the proudest day of my legislative career. i might also say to the occupant of the chair that i stood here at this podium at that time and gave my entire speech in sign

Tom Harkin

0:58:38 to 0:58:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: language, and senator bob kerry, the senator from nebraska, was the occupant of the chair at the time. he has never forgotten that. well, i guess maybe i haven't either. but it was the first time that anyone ever game a long-winded speech on the senate floor and no one ever heard him. perhaps lot of people wish we would do that more often, now that i think about it.

Tom Harkin

0:58:59 to 0:59:20( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: but it was a great day, and i think every senator who was here who voted yes can look back 20 years with enormous pride in this achievement. we were truly present at the creation, but it had a robust life of its own, it's been integrated in the very fabric of american life, it's changed lives, it's changed our nation. it's made the american dream

Tom Harkin

0:59:21 to 0:59:41( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: possible for tens of millions of people who used to be trapped, trapped in a nightmare of prejudice and exclusion. madam president, i'm reluctant in many ways to detract from the joy that we all feel about what's happened over the last 20

Tom Harkin

0:59:42 to 1:00:02( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: years and how far we have come in our country, but i'm obliged to point out, because of my close association with so many disability -- so many people in the disability community and so many different parts of the disability community, i'm obliged to point out that the promise of the americans with

Tom Harkin

1:00:03 to 1:00:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: disabilities act, the promise of a.d.a. is not quite complete. when we passed a.d.a., we were four hopes. ere were four goals for the a.d.a.: equal opportunity, independent living, full

Tom Harkin

1:00:24 to 1:00:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: participation, economic self-sufficiency. there's more work to be done to fulfill those goals. for example, every person with a disability -- think about this. every person with a disability deserves the right to live where he or she wants to live.

Tom Harkin

1:00:45 to 1:01:08( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: you might say, well, everybody has a right to live in america where they want to live. but think about what i said earlier. people with disabilities, they just want the right -- quote -- "to live in the world." so here's what i'm referring to: for years -- for years -- a

Tom Harkin

1:01:09 to 1:01:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: personith a disability who qualifies for care in a nursing home can get that care in a nursing home fully refunded, fully paid for by the government. so if you have a disability, you qualify for that level of care and you go to a nursing home,

Tom Harkin

1:01:31 to 1:01:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: medica picks it up. but let's say you don't want to let's say you're disabled, you want to live in the community. you wt to live near your family and your friends, and you choose to do so. medicaid doesn't pick up that bill.

Tom Harkin

1:01:53 to 1:02:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: if you live in a nursing home, they will, but not if you live independently on your own. this is something we have been trying to overcome for a long time. finally, ten years ago there was a supreme court case. it came to the supreme court. called the olmstead case, a case out of georgia.

Tom Harkin

1:02:14 to 1:02:35( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and listen to this. the supreme court held that people with disabilities have the right to live in the least restrictive environment and to make their own choice to receive their care in the community rather than in an institutional setting.

Tom Harkin

1:02:36 to 1:02:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: in olmstead the court held that the unnecessary institutionalization with people with disabilities constitutes discrimination under the a.d.a. listen to what the court said. very profound. the supreme court said -- quote -- "recognizing that unjustified institutional isolation of persons with disabilities is a

Tom Harkin

1:02:59 to 1:03:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: form of discrimination reflects two evident judgments. first, institutional placement of persons who can handle and benefit from community settings perpetuates unwarranted assumptions that persons so isolated are incapable or

Tom Harkin

1:03:20 to 1:03:40( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: unworthy of participating in community life. secondly, confinement in an institution severely diminishes the everyday life activities of individuals, including family relations, social context, work options, economic independence, educational advancement and

Tom Harkin

1:03:41 to 1:04:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: cultural enrichment." end quote. ten years ago, the supreme court said that. i'm obliged to stand here and say ten years later we haven't gotten there. ten years ago the supreme court said that putting people in institutions against their will when they want to live in the community is discrimination.

Tom Harkin

1:04:04 to 1:04:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and yet, it's still going on. it's still going on. under current law, medicaid is required -- required, required -- to pay for nursing home care for a person with a disability who is financially eligible. but, there is no similar obligation to pay for the same person to receive their care at home.

Tom Harkin

1:04:27 to 1:04:48( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: this makes the promise of the olmstead decision hollow for many residents of many states. so, madam president, i'll have more to say about this later, but i see another champion who during his career in the house, even before that, in his own state of ohio, but for all of

Tom Harkin

1:04:49 to 1:05:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: his life his career has been one of our stall warts in fighting for the rights of people with disabilities. senator brown couldn't be harder working and more devoted to making sure that the a.d.a. actually works. it isn't just put on the shelf someplace.

Tom Harkin

1:05:10 to 1:05:25( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: i thank the senator from ohio for all of his support over all the years, for support of the a.d.a., for the a.d.a. act amendments which he was here for and helped us get through, and for all of the things that we do to try to make life better, fairer, more just for people

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