[Nfbnet-members-list] National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of Access Technology Affordability Act

Danielsen, Chris CDanielsen at nfb.org
Tue Mar 28 19:34:16 UTC 2017

Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
<mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org
National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of Access 
Technology Affordability Act
Urges Swift Passage of Legislation to Help Blind People Buy Access Technology
Baltimore, Maryland (March 28, 2017): The National Federation of the 
Blind, the oldest and largest organization of blind Americans, today 
applauded the introduction of the Access Technology Affordability Act 
of 2017 in both houses of Congress (H.R. 1734, S. 732). The bill was 
introduced by Representatives David Young (R-IA) and Lucille 
Roybal-Allard (D-CA) in the House and by Senators John Boozman (R-AR) 
and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) in the Senate. The legislation will 
establish a per-person individual refundable tax credit to be used 
over a multi-year period to offset the cost of access technology for 
blind people. Access technology includes items such as text-to-speech 
screen access software and electronic Braille displays that blind 
people use to access computers, tablets, smart phones, and other 
devices, as well as digital content.
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, 
said: "Access technology has enabled many blind people to participate 
in educational and employment opportunities, but the high cost of 
this technology is still a barrier for too many blind Americans. 
Furthermore, different individuals have different skills and 
requirements, so there can be no one-size-fits-all technological 
solution; each blind individual must have the flexibility to identify 
and purchase the access technology that will best meet his or her 
needs. The National Federation of the Blind therefore applauds the 
introduction of this legislation, which represents a flexible, 
practical, and cost-effective means of helping the blind to acquire 
the technology we need to live the lives we want. We appreciate the 
outstanding work of Representatives Young and Roybal-Allard and 
Senators Boozman and Cardin, and we urge all of their colleagues to 
join them in supporting this initiative and securing its swift passage."
Senator Boozman said: "As an optometrist, I know firsthand how 
important access technology is for blind Americans trying to engage 
in their communities. With almost 60 percent of blind Americans 
unemployed, I am pleased to introduce this commonsense legislation to 
increase the availability and reduce the financial burden associated 
with these items to ensure the visually impaired receive the tools 
they need to succeed in the classroom, the workplace, and within the 
"Making access technology affordable is critical to ensuring that 
blind and seeing impaired individuals can participate fully in our 
communities and have equal access to every opportunity," said US 
Senator Ben Cardin. "I am proud to be a lead cosponsor on this 
legislation, which gives blind Marylanders, and all blind Americans, 
flexible economic support to help them lead full and successful lives."
"The ability to purchase access technology makes all the difference 
in providing vital quality of life services for blind Iowans," said 
Congressman David Young. "I am happy to introduce this bipartisan, 
bicameral legislation that helps these blind Iowans live independent 
lives and participate in expanded employment and education 
opportunities, as well as give them flexibility to purchase the 
technology they need to best fit their needs."
Rep. Roybal-Allard said: "Technology for the blind can have a 
prohibitively high cost, and we should not stand by and let that cost 
prevent blind Americans from accessing current technology.  That is 
why I am proud to help introduce this bill to help the blind afford 
the technology they need to achieve and excel in the classroom and 
the workforce.  The Access Technology Affordability Act will help 
blind Americans to pursue their dreams and reach their fullest potential."
About the National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the 
characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise 
the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create 
obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life 
you want; blindness is not what holds you back.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://nfbnet.org/pipermail/nfbnet-members-list_nfbnet.org/attachments/20170328/f70cb3e1/attachment.html>

More information about the NFBNet-Members-List mailing list