Appropriations Season Heating Up
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Appropriations Season Heating Up

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June 16, 2014

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The FY15 appropriations process is in full swing, and we’ve updated our funding table to share the latest numbers.

Most important to aging services is the Labor-HHS-Education (Labor-HHS) bill, and the Senate subcommittee released its proposal last week.

Funding for Aging Services

There is a new funding level of $10 million for elder justice. The Elder Justice Act (EJA) has yet to receive a single appropriation since it was enacted four years ago. The Administration requested $25 million, and we will still advocate for that investment as the appropriations process goes forward.

Almost all Older Americans Act (OAA) programs remain at their post-sequester level, although a $5 million increase is proposed for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). Also, last year’s small increases for nutrition programs and the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) are maintained.

Even initiatives such as Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME) and Falls Prevention, which rely on allocations from the mandatory Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), appear to be level-funded at $8 million and $5 million, respectively.

Level-funding also means that cuts proposed by the Administration for SCSEP, Senior Corps, LIHEAP, and the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) were rejected by the Senate panel.

Other Funding Bills

Other appropriations bills also contain news for aging services. The Transportation-HUD bill has moved through both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and each proposes $420 million for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly. While this is $20 million short of the Administration’s proposal, it is a $36.5 million increase over the current level.

The bills also increase Housing Counseling, which includes funding for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) counseling, which is required before older adults can pursue a reverse mortgage. The Senate proposes $49 million and the House proposes $47 million; increases of $4 million and $2 million, respectively.

The Path Ahead

Despite the fact that this year’s process is on a quicker pace than last year, the path forward for finalizing FY15 appropriations remains unclear.

Already, a roadblock has arisen in the Senate, with a slate of anticipated controversial Affordable Care Act-related amendments leading to the postponement of the full Committee markup of its Labor-HHS bill.

House Labor-HHS action may be delayed until after the July 22 runoff for the Georgia Senate Republican primary, in which Subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston is competing. The Subcommittee also has a tighter budget to work with, with an allocation just over $1 billion less than the Senate and the current overall spending level. Most Congressional budget watchers expect that final numbers won’t be resolved until a post-election lame duck session, at the earliest.

That leaves plenty of time for advocates to make the case for aging services funding! Please contact your Congressional delegations, particularly when they are home during upcoming Independence Day and August recesses.

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