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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Cathy McMorris Rodgers to Retire from Congress

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the congressional role in the issue.

I have an article at The Forum: "Disability Policy in the Contemporary Congress." Abstract:

The politics of disability policy in the contemporary Congress confirms the observation by James Curry and Frances Lee that lawmaking largely remains a process of bipartisan accommodation. Most major disability legislation since the 1970s has passed with bipartisan sponsorship and support. One reason is that the issue affects so many Americans, including members of Congress. There have been some exceptions to this bipartisan pattern, particularly when disability policy intersects with more contentious issues. And bipartisanship does not guarantee outcomes that are satisfactory to people with disabilities.

Andru Zodrow NonStop Local:
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) has announced that she is not seeking reelection in 2024. She has served in congress since 2005 and is an influential figure in both Congress and the Republican Party. Her choice to not run again marks a sea-change in regional politics.


Eric Michael Garcia, an MSNBC columnist and advocate for autistic people, noted that McMorris Rodgers made disability issues a consistent theme of her legislative work.

“Cathy McMorris Rodgers is an outspoken voice on ending subminimum wage labor for people with [disabilities.] Her son has Down Syndrome. I was surprised she didn’t put herself up for speaker,” Garcia wrote.

Conservative media figure Brandi Kruse registered her surprise with the decision, and argued that McMorris Rodgers’ departure was part of a broader shift in the Congress.

“We’ve seen this really across the country, from some of the more sane members of congress, where it's just become too much–it's become a sideshow,” Kruse said.

She chairs the Education and Workforce Committee. Daniela Altimari and David Jordan at Roll Call:

Most recently, she led the House debate ahead of passage of a bill this week to ban federal programs from using “quality-adjusted life years” in assessing the value of treatments. Disability advocates argue the strategy discounts people with disabilities. Democrats, for their part, support the concept but argued that the bill, as written, goes further and could hinder other strategies to assess cost-effectiveness.


Her son, Cole Rodgers, was born with an extra chromosome and that, she said, inspired her to become an advocate for people with disabilities.

“Cole was with me on the House floor when we passed the ABLE Act, which marked a new chapter of opportunity and independence for people living with a disability,’’ she said, referring to legislation she helped shepherd through that helps people with disabilities open tax-free savings accounts.
Rodgers has cited her son as a reason she is passionately against abortion. She frequently references him as a motivator on issues related to protecting life.