President Biden on Monday celebrated the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, saying it offered disabled citizens dignity and equality.
The Biden administration also released new guidance that individuals suffering from so-called “long COVID,” a strain of the coronavirus whose effects last for months and perhaps longer, may have a disability and could be protected under the ADA.
“The ADA is more than a law. It’s a testament to our character as a people,” Mr. Biden said.
The bill, signed into law in 1990, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in education, employment, housing and other aspects. Mr. Biden as a senator co-sponsored the legislation, a Democratic bill signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, a Republican. At the time, Mr. Bush called the law a “historic opportunity” to end the “unjustified exclusion of persons with disabilities from mainstream American life.”
“Progress wasn’t political, but personal,” Mr. Biden said.
To commemorate the bipartisan bill, the White House Rose Garden ceremony included Republicans and Democrats. Both Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy were in attendance.
Some of the lawmakers who helped advance the bill 31 years ago also participated in the ceremony, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, and Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat.
Mr. Biden also touted actions that he said have helped to build a “more inclusive, accessible and equitable” country for people with disabilities. He highlighted the raising of the minimum wage for workers employed by federal contractors to $15 per hour and releasing more than $2.5 billion to support elementary and high school students with disabilities.