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White House celebrates 31st anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

ADA Anniversary 2021
Posted at 7:56 AM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 11:55:16-04

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris celebrated the 31st anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Monday.

The ADA was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The law made it illegal to discriminate against a person because of their disability in the same way the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for a person to discriminate against others because of their race, religion, sex or national origin.

In his remarks, Biden noted that the ADA has "moved America closer to fulfilling that promise of liberty and justice, and maybe most importantly, dignity and equality for all."

"The ADA gives all Americans the opportunity to participate in our Democracy, in our economy and in our society," Harris said.

Over the decades, the law has helped make the country more accessible for people with disabilities by making changes to local infrastructure, building codes and government policies. However, Biden said Monday that the country still has work to do.

"While we celebrate the incredible progress we've made toward meeting the full aspirations of the ADA, we must recommit to the work that remains," Biden tweeted Monday morning.

Harris specifically cited the need to apply the ADA when it comes to voting rights issues, saying that those with disabilities are being deterred by "long lines, creaky ramps and broken elevators."

Also, during Monday's event, Biden announced that he would be using the ADA to offer benefits to those who have developed disabilities from the effects of "long COVID."

According to a fact sheet from the White House, the Biden administration will issue guidance that some suffering from the condition has a protected disability. The administration also launched a web portal with the Office of Disability Employment Policy that offers workplace resources on accommodating workers with long COVID.

Watch the ceremony below.