September 26, 2023

Duckworth Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Landmark Rehabilitation Act


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) celebrated the 50th anniversary the landmark Rehabilitation Act, which prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities in federally-funded programs decades before the Americans with Disabilities Act was enshrined into law:

“On the long, winding path to full accessibility and inclusion in America, the landmark Rehabilitation Act cannot be overstated. Not only did it first chip away at the barrier of exclusion by finally banning discrimination against people with disabilities in programs that receive federal funding, but it also helped lay the foundation for the historic Americans with Disabilities Act which transformed the lives of millions of Americans—including myself. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act, I will do everything I can to honor disability activists like Judy Heumann—whose unwavering advocacy made this law possible—by continuing to carry on their work over the next 50 years to ensure Americans with disabilities can lead the full, independent lives we deserve.”

Duckworth has been leading the charge to protect Americans with disabilities from discrimination, including her efforts to help expand reproductive healthcare for Americans with disabilities, improve access to websites and software applications and make it easier for passengers with disabilities to fly in the Senate FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023. Earlier today, she submitted a statement for the record to honor the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act.

Additionally, as a result of legislation that was passed by Duckworth, the Department of Transportation implemented a new rule requiring air carriers to disclose for the first time how many checked bags, wheelchairs and motorized scooters they damage or mishandle each month.