- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Senate Finance subcommittee on taxation and IRS oversight may have never heard testimony from someone quite like Sara Wolff.

Ms. Wolff, 31, was born with Down syndrome, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming involved in politics. She’s slated to speak Wednesday before the subcommittee on the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which would create tax-free savings accounts for those with disabilities.

Earlier this year, she wrote a change.org petition calling on Congress to pass the ABLE Act. The petition now has more than 250,000 online signatures.

“Just because I have Down syndrome, that shouldn’t hold me back from achieving my full potential in life,” Ms. Wolff of Moscow, Pa., said in a statement. “I can work a full-time job, be a productive member of society, and pay taxes – but because of outdated laws placed on individuals with disabilities, we hold people like me back in life.”


She’s also a board member of the National Down Syndrome Society, which is championing the bipartisan legislation. The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Robert Casey, Pennsylvania Democrat, and Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican.

Support for the House bill is being led by Rep. Ander Crenshaw, Florida Republican; Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington Republican; Rep. Pete Sessions, Texas Republican; and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat.

“The bill aims to ease financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing and transportation,” said an NDSS statement.

Ms. McMorris Rodgers, whose seven-year-old son Cole has Down syndrome, called on Congress to “advance this crucial legislation.”

“As the mom of a son with Down syndrome, I see firsthand how federal policies limit—not expand— opportunities for those with disabilities.  And the ABLE Act will change that,” said Ms. McMorris Rodgers in a statement. “It will make sure that Cole — and the millions like him who have special needs — will be able to save for their futures and reach their full potential.”

Having a bill clear the Senate these days is like winning the lottery, but the ABLE Act appears primed to beat the odds. It has 74 Senate co-sponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Passing this landmark legislation will go a long way to help people with Down syndrome and other disabilities realize and achieve their own hopes, dreams and aspirations,” NDSS Vice President of Advocacy and Affiliate Relations Sara Hart Weir said in a statement.