National Federation of the Blind Applauds the Introduction of the Access Technology Affordability Act in the House
Baltimore, Maryland (April 4, 2019): The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest organization of blind Americans, applauds the introduction of the Access Technology Affordability Act (ATAA) of 2019 (H.R. 2086) by Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (D-CA-5) and Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA-16). This bipartisan legislation removes an employment barrier commonly experienced by blind Americans who cannot afford the high cost of access technology by creating a refundable tax credit in the amount of $2,000 to offset the cost of these technologies. Bipartisan companion legislation (S. 815) was previously introduced in the Senate on March 15.
Chairman Thompson said: “Blind people in America deserve to have the same economic opportunity through workforce participation as everyone else. Far too often, access technologies that blind individuals need to be competitive employees, like screen readers or Braille note takers, are so expensive that blind individuals can’t purchase them and are underemployed or unemployed as a result. That’s why I’m proud to introduce the Access Technology Affordability Act, which creates a refundable credit to help purchase technology needed to compete in the workforce. This credit will help unlock critical economic opportunities for blind individuals across our nation.”
“Ensuring that blind Americans have access to important technology will help more Americans have the same educational and employment opportunities to thrive,” said Representative Mike Kelly. “I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation, which will ease the financial burden on blind students to acquire the access technology they need to succeed in their academic pursuits.”
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “My wife, my two daughters, and I are all blind, and the children’s technology needs are going to increase as they continue their education and start their careers. My family is not unique; blind people across the nation face this challenge, and this legislation will provide critical assistance. We thank and commend our outstanding House champions for putting forward this legislation, which will help give blind people the technology they need to live the lives they want.”