Where Things Stand as Congress Heads Home for Recess
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Where Things Stand as Congress Heads Home for Recess

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August 6, 2012

FY13 Funding Table

Download our updated table showing proposed FY13 funding levels for aging services programs.

Congress has adjourned for summer recess and will return on Sept. 10 after the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

Several key bills affecting programs and benefits for older adults are still awaiting action, and the timing and substance of future action remains unclear.

After returning on Sept. 10, Congress will be in session for less than two weeks before leaving again until after the November election, when they will reconvene for what is expected to be a very busy and high-stakes lame duck session.

Here's a summary of where things stand:

FY 2013 Appropriations

Fiscal year 2013 begins Oct. 1, and only seven of the 12 annual appropriations bills have passed the House and none have been debated by the full Senate. As in past years, individual appropriations bills will likely be combined into one or more “omnibus” bills and finalized long after the fiscal year has begun.

Last week, House and Senate leaders took the momentous step of agreeing to a six-month continuing resolution, which would enable annual funding levels to be negotiated after the lame duck session. But final FY13 levels are still threatened by the looming sequester that will take effect on Jan. 2 unless Congress passes a deficit reduction plan.

Our updated funding table shows proposed FY13 levels for aging services programs. On the House side, details are still unclear for most Health and Human Services programs, particularly those in the Administration for Community Living (ACL). We've drawn several conclusions based on House appropriators' statements regarding defunding everything related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) and the Elder Justice Act.

Highlights include:

  • ACL: The House provides $30 million less than FY12, and the Senate provides $18 million more than FY12.

  • Falls Prevention: The House is likely to level-fund falls prevention at $2 million, and the Senate provides a $10 million increase from the PPHF.

  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP): The House is likely to eliminate all $10 million allocated from the PPHF, while the Senate maintains this funding level.

  • Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP): Both bills provide level funding and do not implement the Administration’s proposed transfer of SCSEP from the Department of Labor to ACL.

  • Elder Justice Act: As noted above, the House provides no funding because this statute is part of the ACA, and the Senate includes first-time funding of $8 million for Adult Protective Services.

  • National Service: The House eliminates all funding except for the current level for Senior Corps, while the Senate increases funding.

  • Housing Counseling: The House keeps level funding, and the Senate provides a $10 million increase.

  • Section 202: The House provides a $50 million increase, and the Senate level-funds the program.

  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program: The House cuts $4 million, and the Senate increases funding by $10 million to maintain current service levels.

Older Americans Act Reauthorization

Work on reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) continues in the Senate, with weekly bipartisan staff meetings. Nearly a dozen bills have been introduced to update or renew various programs, and efforts continue to merge these and other proposals into a comprehensive measure that can pass the Senate.

However, with limited legislative days remaining, several high-level bills competing for Congress’ attention, and no activity in the House, it's unclear how much additional action is possible on OAA reauthorization this year. Many signs point to restarting this work in the 113th Congress.

Farm Bill

Reauthorization of the Farm Bill is also due this year, and while the Senate has passed its version of the legislation, the House bill has stalled since the Committee markup.

Before Congress recessed, House leaders proposed a one-year extension, but the Senate continues to insist on its five-year measure. Calls to respond to the drought are heightening pressure to take some action in September.

Several proposals for the nutrition programs affect benefits and services for seniors. Eligibility changes would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by more than $16 million in the House bill and $4.5 million in the Senate bill. More than 92% of SNAP benefits go to households below the poverty line, millions of them seniors

Both bills would transition the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) to a seniors-only program, given that most beneficiaries are older adults. The House bill also proposes to drop “Senior” from the Senior Farmer Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) and expand eligibility to nutritionally vulnerable low-income families, but without expanding funding to meet increased demand.

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