President Joe Biden celebrated the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act Monday, highlighting the progress made over the past three decades in advancing equity for people with disabilities, as well as the bipartisan spirit involved in getting the law passed.
Watch Biden’s remarks in the player above.
“Generations have grown up not knowing the time before it existed, but many of us can still recall in America where a person with a disability was denied service in restaurants and grocery stores,” Biden said in a Rose Garden ceremony. “Where an employer could refuse to hire you because of a disability, an America that wasn’t built for all Americans,” he added.
The president also applauded the bipartisan backing of the legislation 31 years ago, saying it wouldn’t have happened if Democrats and Republicans hadn’t worked together.
“This was a Democratic bill signed by a Republican president, a product of passion and compassion, not partisanship. Progress that wasn’t political, but personal to millions of families,” he said.
Biden also announced new guidance adding long-term COVID-19 to be considered a disability under federal civil rights laws.
“Many Americans who seemingly recover from the virus still face lingering challenges like breathing problems, brain fog, chronic pain and fatigue. These conditions can sometimes…rise to the level of a disability,” Biden said.
“So we’re bringing agencies together to make sure Americans with long-COVID who have a disability have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law,” he added.
The president also signed a proclamation marking the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and reaffirming his commitment to it.