- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- senate Committees
- The house has not voted
Committee on Education and LaborIntroducedApril 8th, 2019
- house Committees
What is House Bill H.R. 2134?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 2134
In-Depth: Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced this bill to reauthorize the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) for five years:
“For more than 50 years, Helen Keller National Center has provided critical services for deaf-blind Americans across the nation. With plans to expand to more states and regions, the Center will continue its long tradition of supporting those who are deaf-blind and giving them the opportunity to fully participate in their communities. Since it was first authorized in 1967, Congress has made funding the Center a priority and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that we can continue to support this important organization.”
Original cosponsor Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) adds:
“I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that would reauthorize the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults. For more than 50 years, the Center has admirably served deaf-blind communities and also supported those who care for and work with these individuals. Certainly, the Center’s valuable mission, important work and role as a resource is worth affirming through reauthorization by Congress.”
The Helen Keller National Center’s Executive Director, Susan Ruzenski, says:
“Helen Keller National Center is very grateful for the bi-partisan support for the reauthorization of the HKNC Act. Established 52 years ago, HKNC is working with many partners across the country to strengthen and build services for and with youth, adults and seniors who are deaf-blind. The growth and collaboration among state and local partners has leveraged HKNC’s resources and ability to impact the lives of people who are deaf-blind, their family members and the professionals who work to support the deaf-blind community in achieving employment and independent, self-actualized lives. The reauthorization of the HKNC Act validates the importance of our mission and we wholeheartedly renew our commitment to ensuring that each person who is deaf-blind has the opportunity to live, work and thrive in their community of choice.”
This legislation has 42 bipartisan cosponsors, including 38 Democrats and four Republicans.
Of Note: The Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) provides rehabilitation and vocational training to the United States’ deaf-blind community. Since its first authorization by Congress in 1967, HKNC has expanded to support regional representatives in California, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Washington and created six new deaf-blind specialist positions providing additional assistance and support to deaf-blind persons in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. Ultimately, HKNC’s goal is to have 20 deaf-blind specialists (2 in each region) and establish five Community Service programs (the first of which will be in Los Angeles/San Diego) by 2020.
HKNC is the only comprehensive national program providing information, referral, support, and training exclusively to youths and adults who have combined vision and hearing loss. It supports the families of and professionals who work with the deaf-blind community.
In 2016, the HKNC served 93 adult training clients and provided specialized short-term training to 29 clients at its headquarters. Its regional programs also served 1,528 customers — including 447 families and 985 organizations and agency service providers — in FY2016.
Helen Keller — for whom the HKNC is named — was a deaf-blind woman. Due to an unknown illness at the age of 19 months, Helen became deaf and blind. Helen Keller’s life was changed when Anne Sullivan, a 20-year-old graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind, came to teach her.
- Sponsoring Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) Press Release
- Sponsoring Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) Dear Colleague Letter
- Helen Keller National Center
- Dept. of Education - Helen Keller National Center
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / KenWiedemann)