For the first time in many years, lawmakers are poised to pass a final FY 2019 funding bill for many Older Americans Act (OAA) and other aging programs by the October 1 start of the fiscal year. This week the House will take up a Senate-passed bill pairing funding for defense and the bulk of non-defense discretionary federal spending. But nothing is ever certain in Washington, DC these days, and your House lawmakers need to hear from YOU about why advancing this federal funding bill is so important for the older adults and caregivers you serve via OAA and other aging programs.
The $855 billion funding bill contains $178 billion for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies—including funding for the Administration for Community Living and its Administration on Aging. The measure preserves the historic FY 2018 increases for many OAA programs. It also provides additional increases for some aging line items, including for OAA Title VI Native American aging programs and Title III-C Nutrition services. (n4a primary members can see our recent Legislative Update for additional details on the compromise bill.)
The Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill last week in a vote of 93-7, and the House is expected to follow suit this week. In order to attract additional support on a tight timeline, appropriators also attached a provision to the measure that would continue current funding for discretionary programs that have yet to receive congressional approval (a continuing resolution), aiming to alleviate the threat of a partial government shutdown ahead of the November elections. The House is expected to take up the funding proposal as early as tomorrow.
It is important to reach out NOW to encourage your members to support funding for Older Americans Act and other aging programs!
We expect that the House will pass this important funding this week, but there is some opposition from the House Freedom Caucus on the size of the package and the President on the amount of border wall funding, so it is critical that your lawmakers understand the value of OAA programs and the vital role they play in keeping older adults safe, healthy and living independently in their homes and communities. It is also important that your Representatives understand why it is essential that Congress avoid funding gaps and instead provide budget certainty to already constrained local aging programs and services.
We need all AAAs, Title VI Native American programs and all your local allies to raise our collective voices in support of advancing funding for Older Americans Act and other aging programs this week!
- Contact your Representatives NOW to advocate for funding for OAA programs and services. The House of Representatives is taking a critical vote this week to advance the bulk of federal non-defense discretionary funding, and your lawmakers need to understand how important these programs are to older adults and caregivers in their districts. You can reach out using the following messages.
Last week, the Senate passed an important measure to preserve FY 2018 increases to Older Americans Act (OAA) Subtitles III B, C, D and E, which means that older adults will continue to receive in-home services, home-delivered and congregate meals, transportation, caregiver supports, evidence-based health and wellness programs and other essential local services that enable them to maintain their health and independence for as long as possible. The bill also provides much-needed modest increases to OAA Title VI Native American aging programs in the areas of nutrition and caregiver supports.
We hope you will support funding for OAA and other essential aging programs when the House takes up the Department of Defense and Labor-HHS appropriations proposal this week. It is important that Members of Congress meet the FY 2019 October 1 deadline to provide funding certainty for critical OAA programs and services.
Federal funding for all of these aging services is essential to promoting and preserving the health and independence of millions of people, including the older adults and caregivers we serve in your district.
- Say THANK YOU if your Representative supports essential aging funding! It is important that lawmakers hear from constituents when they support funding and policy proposals that support the ability of older adults and caregivers to live with health and dignity in their districts and states. If you know that your Member of Congress supports vital OAA funding, please ensure that you thank them!
- Engage your community! Please encourage your providers, advisory boards, partners and consumers to take action by engaging your Representatives today and tomorrow before the House considers this funding proposal. You can call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 or find additional contact information online at https://www.house.gov/representatives.
Note: as you reach out it’s also important to PERSONALIZE the emails you send and share anecdotes about how important federal funding is for the programs in your community.
Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue!