The National Association of Blind Merchants

(A Division of the National Federation of the Blind)

Day on the Hill, May 23, 2017

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The National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) and the National Federation of the Blind Entrepreneurs Initiative (NFBEI) will be holding a Day on the Hill on May 23, 2017. Please make arrangements to join us in Washington, D.C. so we can let our voices be heard and collectively protect opportunities for blind entrepreneurs.

A bill has been introduced that will allow commercialization of interstate rest areas.  If enacted, HR 1990 would instantly displace almost 400 blind entrepreneurs who operate vending at these rest areas and several programs who rely on funding from third party would face financial ruin.  We have to continue our fight to prevent DOD from promulgating the proposed troop dining rules and educate the Armed Services Committee in an effort to thwart any attempt by AbilityOne to get language added to the NDAA this year that would further weaken our priority for troop dining.  We must continue to put political pressure on the VA to comply with the law.

We want to focus our efforts on the relevant committees which would be the Transportation, Armed Services, and Veterans Affairs Committees.  Attached you will find a listing of the committees on which we will be focusing.  As you can see, very few sates are not represented on one of these committees.  If you live in a state  with a Senator who is on the attached list, you need to be in D.C. on May 23rd.  If you live or work in the district of a member of Congress who is on this list, you need to join us.  If you are Chair of the Committee of Blind Vendors in a state with a House member on one of these committees, you need to be there even if you don’t live in their district. Any blind vendor is welcome to participate even if you don’t have a member on one of these committees.  It’s never a bad thing to educate your members about issues that are important to you.

To register to attend the Fly-In, go to http://blindmerchants.org/nabm-fly-may-23-2017/.  Complete the registration form and submit.  We will make appointments for you with your members of Congress.  We will meet early on May 23rd to talk about the issues and to give you the materials to leave after your meetings.

The host hotel will be the Le Meridian Hotel, 1121 19th Street North, Arlington, Virginia, 22209.  You can book your room by going to  https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/events/start.action?id=1704134464&key=6136F94.  You can also call 703-351-9170 and request the National Association of Blind Merchants room block. We have a block of rooms for the night of May 22nd and a few rooms for the night of May 23rd.  The rate is $209 per night.

The Randolph-Sheppard Program is under attack.  Help us defend it.  Register now!

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.