Disability rights advocates were dragged from Congress on Tuesday as they protested reforms to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Footage posted to social media shows U.S. Capitol Police forcibly removing demonstrators, several of whom had disabilities, in handcuffs from the House Rules Committee meeting, where lawmakers were debating a bill that would reform the decades-old law.
At least five protesters could be seen being taken away by police. A police officer physically picked up one protester in a wheelchair, while another protester, also in a wheelchair, was handcuffed while filming the encounter. The House Rules Committee and the Capital Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The changes to the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas, would ease businesses’ responsibility to make themselves accessible for the disabled. Poe said the changes will avoid “unnecessary abusive lawsuits” against small businesses, while disability advocates contend the bill would essentially strip the laws requiring businesses to accommodate people with disabilities with equipment like ramps.
The protesters at the House hearing on Tuesday chanted, “Don't take our rights away, hands off the ADA!” The meeting was briefly recessed, but then resumed after the protesters were removed.
Cover image: Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., right, Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Colleen Flanagan of Disability Action for America, take a selfie after a news conference outside of the Supreme Court to mark the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)