Massachusetts Speech-Language Hearing Association

Federal Advocacy

The Massachusetts Speech-Language Hearing Association makes every effort it can to support the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA)’s efforts in the area of federal advocacy. Advocacy efforts require the help of members at both the state association level, as well at the national level.


Bills Becoming Laws

Bill – Official process started by a member of Congress (House of Representatives or Senate)

  • Process often helped by 3 additional groups
  • Special Interest Group - Private citizens formed together with common interest (.ie - ASHA – a key interest of this group's members would be the desire for the repeal of Medicare Caps)
  • Executive Branch (President of the United States)
  • Congressional Committees – members of Congress officially formed with the focus on a specific issue (.ie - House Committee on Education and the Workforce holds hearings on the issue of education reform)

Lobbyist – Private citizen who attempts to influence legislation

  • Wide range of techniques used

The Bills' "travels" in Congress– Officially introduced by a member of Congress (House of Representatives or Senate)

  • Assigned to a Congressional committee
  • Committee's hold hearings to gather information and exposure for the Bill
  • Rules Committee (very powerful committee) assigns the Bill to a debate calendar
  • Floor debate – House of Representatives and Senate debate the Bill with specific rules

Final Passage

  • Congressional Conference Committee - made up of members of both the House of Representatives and Senate
  • "Irons out" the language of the Bill and sends it back to each house 
    • If Bill passes both houses it is signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives & The President of the Senate (Vice President of the United States)
    • Bill is then sent to the President of the United States

4 Options for the President

  • Sign it – bill becomes law
  • Do nothing – bill becomes law after 10 working days if Congress is in session
  • Veto it – bill sent back to Congress with reason why he/she vetoed it
    • Veto Override – 2/3 vote in each house needed
  • Pocket Veto – not signed and Congress adjourns before 10 working days

Composed by: Daniel G. Knight


ASHA Advocacy Resources

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children in the United States with disabilities. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.


Essential Coverage: Rehabilitative and Habilitative Services and Devices

ASHA is please to provide the document: Essential Coverage: Rehabilitation and Habilitation Services and Devices to members in the state. The document can be used to explain the role of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) in providing services to clients who require rehabilitation and habilitation services and devices for the purposes of education and advocating within your state to maximize coverage of member services. The guide contains the federally adopted definition of rehabilitation and habilitation and provides clinical examples of medically necessary audiology and SLP services under the defined benefit category. The new federal definition provides an opportunity to advocate for expanded coverage of habilitation services that have previously been denied. For more information please email Briana O'Neill V.P. Advocacy boneillslp@gmail.com or Daneen Grooms, ASHA’s Director of Health Reform Analysis and Advocacy, dgrooms@asha.org or 301-296-5651.



Massachusetts Speech-Language Hearing Association
465 Waverley Oaks Road, Suite 421, Waltham, MA 02452
Phone: 781-647-7031
theoffice@mshahearsay.org
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