1. President's Remarks
2. Press Release from Department of Education
3. Executive Order


      THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you all.  Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for
your hospitality and your leadership.  Senator Jeffords, Congressmen Green,
Horn and Langevin, thank you all for coming.  It's good to see you all.
Four members of the United States Congress have had a piece, a hand in the
strategy that I'm about to talk about, and I thank them for their

      Dinah, thank you very much.  It's always a joy to be around somebody
who loves what she's doing.  An enthusiastic soul, and someone who is
making people's lives better.  And I really appreciate you having me here.
I want to thank David Shu for his work, and I want to thank Rhett Dawson as
well, who is the President of the Information Technology and Industry

      My fellow Americans, when the Americans with Disabilities Act was
signed in 1990, our nation made a promise we will no longer underestimate
the abilities of Americans with disabilities.  We will treat Americans with
disabilities as people to be respected, rather than problems to be

      Our nation has made progress in both attitude and law.  Navigating
through buildings and buses is far easier than it was just a decade ago.
Now, the growth of new technologies creates new hopes and new obstacles.

      The Internet brings a world of information into a computer screen,
which has enriched the lives of many with disabilities.  Yet, technology
creates challenges of its own.  The brilliant graphics that add life to
many web pages can make it difficult for a visually impaired person to get
the information he or she needs from a web site.  Video technology is
turning many computers into television sets.

      Yet, without closed captioning, many see a picture and no words.  And
complex keyboard commands make it difficult for a person with impaired
motor skills to tap a computer's full potential.  As a result, computer
usage and Internet access for people with disabilities is half that of
people without disabilities.

      Researchers here at the Department of Defense and at other agencies
throughout the federal government and in the private sector are developing
solutions to these problems.  I have just had the opportunity to tour the
department's assistive technology center, and I saw technologies that are
helping people with disabilities enjoy the full range of opportunities made
possible by the technology boom.

      Software allows hearing impaired people to communicate with their
co-workers by computer.  Screen reading technology makes it possible for
the visually impaired to access information on a monitor.  And voice
recognition software unlocks new computing possibilities for people with
impaired dexterity.

      The technologies on display here have helped more than 20,000 Defense
Department employees enjoy greater access to communications and computing
equipment.  And they will help countless individuals in the public and
private sectors become fully integrated into the workplace.  I'm committed
to bringing that technology to users as quickly as possible.  And I'm
committed to ensuring that government web sites become compatible with this
evolving technology.

      And that is why I'm pleased to announce that when Section 508 of the
Rehabilitation Act, offered by Jim Jeffords, becomes effective for all
federal agencies next Monday, there will be more opportunities for people
of all abilities to access government information.  Section 508 requires
federal agencies to make sure that the electronic and information
technology they use is accessible for people with disabilities.

      Increasingly, Americans use information technology to interact with
their government.  They rely on thousands of government web pages to
download forms, learn about federal programs, find out where to turn for
government assistance, and communicate with elected officials, such as the
President.  And because of Section 508, government web sites will be more
accessible for millions of Americans who have disabilities.

      Section 508 will also make the federal government a better employer,
as roughly 120,000 federal employees with disabilities will have greater
access to the tools they need to better perform their jobs.  This is one
example of the successful public-private partnerships that are removing
barriers to full community participation by Americans with disabilities.  I
thank the leaders from the technology industry who are with us today for
your innovation and your ongoing cooperation.

      Full implementation of Section 508 is a key element of an agenda I
announced a year ago, and began implementing in February.  It is called The
New Freedom Initiative, and its goal is to prepare -- is to help Americans
with disabilities realize their potential and to achieve their dreams.

      We've asked Congress to increase funding to bring assistive
technologies to market more quickly, to help make them more affordable for
the people who need them, and to speed research in developing new
technologies.  We have sought to make it easier for Americans with
disabilities to enter the work force by finding new ways to get people to
their jobs, relying on new technologies to help people work from their

      We recognize the small businesses and community groups like churches,
synagogues, mosques and civic organizations may have trouble finding the
resources to fully comply with the ADA. So we've asked Congress to support
efforts to help them make their facilities more accessible.  And we
understand that new policies will mean little if we don't fully enforce the
ADA.  So my administration is doing just that.

      While these federal efforts are crucial to guaranteeing full
accessibility for Americans with disabilities, we must also help them
connect with their local communities.  So I've signed an executive order
requiring full implementation of the Supreme Court's 1999 Olmstead
Decision.  (Applause.)  Olmstead and the ADA rightly mandate that
individuals with disabilities who can receive support and treatment in a
community setting should be given a reasonable opportunity to live close to
their families and friends when appropriate.

      My executive order directs key federal agencies, like the Departments
of Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education and Justice and the Social Security Administration to work with
states to implement the Olmstead decision and the ADA.  It directs those
agencies to explore how we can increase community-based services for people
with disabilities.  And it directs Attorney General Ashcroft and Secretary
Thompson to fully enforce Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
and ensure that no one is unjustly institutionalized.  (Applause.)

      Secretary Thompson has also made seed money available to help every
state develop a plan for implementing Omlstead.  The Olmstead Executive
Order will increase freedom for people with disabilities.  It is
compassionate.  It is needed.  And it is now the federal official policy of
my administration.  Americans must have the opportunity to live
independently, work productively and participate fully in community life.

      Many Americans achieve this independence through home ownership; but,
too often, the high cost of therapeutic care and assistive equipment and
technologies make the goal of home ownership unattainable for people with
disabilities.  That's why I'm optimistic about a pilot program led through
the Congress by Representative Mark Green, and soon to be implemented by
Secretary Mel Martinez at HUD, that will allow many people with
disabilities to buy their own homes.  By making the Section 8 low-income
rental assistance program more flexible, the federal government can make
home ownership a reality for more Americans.

      The new Section 8 HUD pilot program, the Olmstead Executive Order, and
the full implementation of Section 508 will help eliminate the barriers
that many Americans with disabilities face.  The proposals I sent to
Congress will build on our society's commitment to welcome all Americans as
friends and neighbors.  When governments, business and individuals work
together, to build a welcoming society, Americans of every ability will

      Thank you for what you're doing here at the Department of Defense.
Thank you for your compassion.  And may God bless America.

CONTACT: Lindsey Kozberg, (202) 401-3026


President George W. Bush yesterday signed an executive order to provide
greater opportunities for people with disabilities to engage fully in
community life and in employment.

Under the order, the U.S. secretary of education is directed to work
cooperatively with the attorney general; the secretaries of health and
human services, labor, and housing and urban development; and the
commissioner of the Social Security Administration in providing assistance
to states and communities in expanding community-based alternatives for
persons with disabilities.

Specifically, the order is intended to help states to comply with the terms
of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. [527 U.S. 581
(1999)]. According to the order, "the Supreme Court construed Title II of
the ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act] to require states to place
qualified individuals with mental disabilities in community settings,
rather than in institutions, whenever treatment professionals determine
that such placement is appropriate, the affected persons do not oppose such
placement, and the state can reasonably accommodate the placement, taking
into account the resources available to the state and the needs of others
with disabilities."

"This administration is committed to working to provide greater freedom for
everyone with a disability," said U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige.
"Our department can and will be a resource for Americans with disabilities
who are in danger of being left behind. Several efforts are already
underway here at the department to fulfill the mission set forth in
President Bush's order."

Following are existing resources available from the department's Office of
Special Education and Rehabilitative Services that may support the
transition to community living for individuals with disabilities:

      A $400,000 award to the Independent Living Research and Utilization
      Project ( ) at the Texas Institute on
      Rehabilitation Research to provide technical assistance to states and
      communities. Through regional training sessions, a web site and a
      telephone hotline, ILRU will educate community and state leaders about
      ways to help people with disabilities make the transition from
      institutions to community living.
      Grants this year in the amount of $6.2 million to support Disability
      and Business Technical Assistance Centers which will also coordinate
      work with the ILRU.
      The $100 million Independent Living Programs and the $2.3 billion
      Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Paige said that under the terms of the order, the Education Department will
review its policies, programs, statues and regulations to determine whether
any need to be revised or modified to help with the development of
community-based alternatives to support people with disabilities.

"This executive order offers important opportunities for people with
disabilities," Paige said, "and a challenge that we embrace



By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws
of the United States of America, and in order to place qualified
individuals with disabilities in community settings whenever appropriate,
it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. This order is issued consistent with the following
findings and principles:
(a) The United States is committed to community-based alternatives for
individuals with disabilities and recognizes that such services advance the
best interests of Americans.

(b) The United States seeks to ensure that America's community-based
programs effectively foster independence and participation in the community
for Americans with disabilities.

(c) Unjustified isolation or segregation of qualified individuals with
disabilities through institutionalization is a form of disability-based
discrimination prohibited by Title II of the Americans With Disabilities
Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et. seq. States must avoid
disability-based discrimination unless doing so would fundamentally alter
the nature of the service, program, or activity provided by the State.

(d) In Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999) (the "Olmstead decision"), the
Supreme Court construed Title II of the ADA to require States to place
qualified individuals with mental disabilities in community settings,
rather than in institutions, whenever treatment professionals determine
that such placement is appropriate, the affected persons do not oppose such
placement, and the State can reasonably accommodate the placement, taking
into account the resources available to the State and the needs of others
with disabilities.

(e) The Federal Government must assist States and localities to implement
swiftly the Olmstead decision, so as to help ensure that all Americans have
the opportunity to live close to their families and friends, to live more
independently, to engage in productive employment, and to participate in
community life.

Sec. 2. Swift Implementation of the Olmstead Decision: Agency
Responsibilities. (a) The Attorney General, the Secretaries of Health and
Human Services, Education, Labor, and Housing and Urban Development, and
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration shall work
cooperatively to ensure that the Olmstead decision is implemented in a
timely manner. Specifically, the designated agencies should work with
States to help them assess their compliance with the Olmstead decision and
the ADA in providing services to qualified individuals with disabilities in
community-based settings, as long as such services are appropriate to the
needs of those individuals. These agencies should provide technical
guidance and work cooperatively with States to achieve the goals of Title
II of the ADA, particularly where States have chosen to develop
comprehensive, effectively working plans to provide services to qualified
individuals with disabilities in the most integrated settings. These
agencies should also ensure that existing Federal resources are used in the
most effective manner to support the goals of the ADA. The Secretary of
Health and Human Services shall take the lead in coordinating these

(b) The Attorney General, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services,
Education, Labor, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Commissioner
of the Social Security Administration shall evaluate the policies,
programs, statutes, and regulations of their respective agencies to
determine whether any should be revised or modified to improve the
availability of community-based services for qualified individuals with
disabilities. The review shall focus on identifying affected populations,
improving the flow of information about supports in the community, and
removing barriers that impede opportunities for community placement. The
review should ensure the involvement of consumers, advocacy organizations,
providers, and relevant agency representatives. Each agency head should
report to the President, through the Secretary of Health and Human
Services, with the results of their evaluation within 120 days.

(c) The Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services
shall fully enforce Title II of the ADA, including investigating and
resolving complaints filed on behalf of individuals who allege that they
have been the victims of unjustified institutionalization. Whenever
possible, the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human
Services should work cooperatively with States to resolve these complaints,
and should use alternative dispute resolution to bring these complaints to
a quick and constructive resolution.

(d) The agency actions directed by this order shall be done consistent with
this Administration's budget.
Sec. 3. Judicial Review. Nothing in this order shall affect any otherwise
available judicial review of agency action. This order is intended only to
improve the internal management of the Federal Government and does not
create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law
or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies or
instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

June 18, 2001

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