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Kamala Harris unveils plan for people with disabilities

By
Sommer Brokaw
Democratic presidential candidate California Sen. Kamala Harris participates on the second night of the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theater in Detroit on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. Photo by Edward M. PioRoda/CNN/UPI
Democratic presidential candidate California Sen. Kamala Harris participates on the second night of the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theater in Detroit on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. Photo by Edward M. PioRoda/CNN/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris unveiled a plan Thursday to promote economic opportunity for people with disabilities.

Sen. Harris, D-Calif., said she is committed to "full inclusion" of people with disabilities in the workforce.

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If elected president, Harris said she would take executive action to require federal housing and transportation funds applicants to explain how projects "will be fully accessible" prior to receiving funds.

She added that this access to housing and transportation is needed for workforce participation.

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Harris said she would also work alongside the disability community to pass a Transformation to Competitive Employment Act. The act would "establish a grant program for states to help redesign business models and strategies to increase employment of people with disabilities," her plan states.

She proposed a Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Harris argued that the legislation would expand "full inclusion" since people with disabilities are more likely to work in low-wage fields.

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She also said that more needs to be done to ensure equal opportunities because the unemployment rate for workers with disabilities last year was more than twice that for workers without disabilities.

A National Council on Disability Policy report showed that only 32 percent of working-age people with disabilities were employed compared with 73 percent of people without disabilities a couple years ago.

Harris plans to eliminate barriers by making changes to help more people with disabilities get workplace accommodations and adaptive technology through the Department of Education' s Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants, which help people with disabilities secure employment.

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She also said that she would "fight to pass" legislation to ensure that students with disabilities "get the education they deserve" to better their shot at economic advancement in the future.

Harris added that will also pass the Medicare for All plan, which will help expand economic opportunity of people with disabilities since affordable health care is needed for financial security.

The California senator is one of 10 Democratic candidates, so far, who has qualified for the third primary debate on Sept. 12 in Houston, which will be broadcast on ABC News.

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She has polled in fourth of fifth place out of Democratic presidential hopefuls in recent weeks.

Her polling surged after her performance in the first Democratic debate, but slipped after the second one, and she is now often registering in single digits.

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