NAM Lauds Congress for Passing ADA Amendments Act

Responding to yesterday's passage in the House of the ADA Amendments Act that last week also sailed through the Senate by unanimous consent, Jay Timmons, executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, on Wednesday said Congress's handling of the bill was "a meaningful achievement for all stakeholders and an encouraging sign that good legislation can triumph over 'politics as usual' in Washington." Now, he added, NAM is urging President Bush to sign the act into law, which he is expected to do.

The bill expands the definition of disability to what supporters say was originally intended by the law and makes it easier for workers to prove discrimination. It explicitly rejects the strict standards used by the Supreme Court to determine who is disabled since ADA was first enacted.

"This bill represents a truly remarkable collaboration of disability, civil rights, and employer groups that generated strong bicameral and bipartisan support in Congress. The NAM is proud to have helped shape this landmark legislation and urges the President to sign this bill without delay," Timmons said. "The bill strikes the right balance between protections for individuals with disabilities and the obligations and requirements of employers. It corrects narrow court interpretations that have restricted ADA protections in the workplace and stripped coverage for individuals with conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, and even cancer."

Timmons added that the bill will help avoid worker shortages in industries that will soon be facing them, if they're not already. "Restoring the original intent of the ADA is a practical issue for manufacturers who urgently need qualified workers to fill vacancies--and it's also the right thing to do," he said. "As the Baby Boom generation begins to retire and technology continues to rapidly advance, manufacturers face growing shortages of skilled workers and are actively seeking all qualified individuals who want to work."

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