Representative Joe Sempolinski is the lead GOP sponsor on the Assistive Technology Act, which helps Americans living with a disability.
Sempolinski said the bipartisan proposal is a reauthorization of an existing act that was first passed in 1988.
He said the act is meant to empower states to provide assistive technologies, “And that can be something that’s very simple. Maybe somebody has a physical disability, it’s tough for them to open a bottle of soda, maybe it helps them out. Maybe it’s someone with a walker and if you give them a walker they’ll be able to get to work, get to school, and do the things they need to do. Maybe it’s someone who has some speech issues. Maybe they need assistance to help them communicate and if they have that they’re going to be able to be living a full life.”
Sempolinski said the exact cost of the act is still being worked on, but he said this kind of spending is fiscally conservative and has a return on investment, “If you give somebody a dollar, and it gives them a walker or something simple like that to enable them to go out and get a job, enables them to go to school to get a degree, when they may not be able to or it might be far more difficult, you’re going to save a lot of money later on, because now that person is going to be paying taxes as opposed to maybe needing as much assistance from the government.”
The Assistive Technology Act was last reauthorized in 2004.