Prelude to Drafting the Original ADA Bill - Part 10
Congressional Mandate of 1988 Follow-up Report
In October, Congress demonstrated that its praise of Toward Independence and oratorical flourishes about how this report would not be put on the shelf with other reports, that action would be taken, and that members of Congress were going to hold themselves accountable for implementing the recommendations made in the report, were not just empty rhetoric. During consideration of the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act, the Senate initially added to the House version of the bill (passed by a House vote of 401 to 0) a specious provision that would have directed the Council to establish goals for the year 2000 and to report annually on progress toward meeting those goals. In lieu of that provision, the conference committee substituted the following, which became Section 502(b) of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986: “Not later than January 30, 1988, and annually thereafter, the National Council on the Handicapped shall issue a report to the President and Congress on the progress that has been made in implementing the recommendations contained in the Council's January 30, 1986, report Toward Independence.” In essence, Congress charged the Council to issue a detailed annual report card as to how the government was doing in executing the recommendations in the 1986 report. For the members and staff of the Council, this assignment immediately became the paramount work agenda item for the next year. And it would turn out to be the springboard for the development and introduction of an ADA bill.
At the end of 1986 and during 1987, the Council attended to various significant activities, such as supporting and serving as an official observer of the Department of Transportation's "regulatory negotiation" process for developing regulations pursuant to the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, preparing and delivering testimony to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources in favor of the Civil Rights Restoration Act, and submitting testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on the Handicapped regarding the Developmental Disabilities Act. But the predominant focus of the members and staff of the Council came increasingly to be on the 1988 follow-up report on progress made on implementation of the recommendations presented in Toward Independence, foremost of which was passage of an ADA.
 Pub.L. No. 99-506, Section 502(b) (Oct. 21, 1986), 100 Stat. 1829, codified as amended at 29 U.S.C. § 781(b).