Members of Congress are set to leave town for the "August" recess (which will actually last through Sept. 8) in just over a week's time. When they return they'll have a number of headaches on their hands, including must-pass legislation like a bill to keep the government open past Sept. 30 when the current funding expires, and should-pass legislation, like a still-elusive bipartisan compromise to overhaul the Veterans Affairs Department. With the election less than two months later, none of these battles are likely to be pretty.
But as members prepare to return to Washington with helmets and pitchforks, there is one bright spot on the horizon: a bipartisan, bicameral bill that will solve a major problem for millions of the country's most vulnerable citizens and is likely to glide through Congress with ease. "Do-Nothing" Congress, meet the Able Act.
The Able Act (short for "Achieving a Better Life Experience") would allow Americans with disabilities and their parents to open tax-free savings accounts to pay for such things as housing, education, transportation, and medical care.
While parents can save for their children who will attend college in tax-deferred accounts under current law, there is no such savings mechanism for children whose disabilities would prevent them from attending college. "No longer would parents have to stand aside and watch as others use IRS-sanctioned tools like 529 education savings accounts to lay the groundwork for a brighter future [if the Able Act passes]," Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla, wrote in a Washington Times op-ed advocating for the bill back in 2010. "They would be able to do so for their children as well."