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Straight Talk for Seniors®: Congressional Committees Preserve Aging Services Funding for 2019

Congressional appropriators have moved their FY19 bills quickly though the committee process, with only the House version of the Labor-HHS-Education (Labor-HHS) bill still waiting for full committee approval.

There is generally good news for aging services programs in both bills. They each reject cuts and eliminations proposed by the Administration and largely maintain funding at current levels, keeping the increases that were secured for many programs in last year’s fiscal year. A few small increases also have been proposed.

See our Aging Services Funding Table for more details, and here are some highlights:

Level-funded programs

  • Falls Prevention: $5 million for the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and $2.1 billion for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in each bill
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME): $8 million in each bill
  • Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): $49.1 million in each bill
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP): $400 million in each bill
  • Social Services Block Grant (SSBG): $1.7 billion in each bill
  • Senior Corps: $202.1 million in each bill
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): $238.1 million in the Senate bill, but $222.9 million (a $15.2 million cut) in the House bill
  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): $3.3 billion in each bill

Programs increased

  • National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP): $300,000 million increase in the Senate bill to begin implementation of the RAISE Act
  • Older Americans Act (OAA) Grants for Native Americans: $3 million increase in House bill
  • OAA Native American Caregivers Support: $1 million increase in House bill
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): $50 million increase in Senate bill (Administration called for elimination)
  • Community Services Block Grant (CSBG): $10 million increase in Senate bill and $35 million increase in House bill (Administration called for elimination)

Next Steps

Appropriators and Congressional leadership want to continue to move the FY19 bills at this swift pace, but there are already signs that the process is slowing down. The House Appropriations Committee has postponed its markup of the Labor-HHS bill twice. The three easiest bills to pass have been approved by both the House and Senate, but only one of the nine annual bills has been adopted, only by the House.

There are only 23 days when both chambers are in session between now and the start of the federal fiscal year on October 1. Most budget experts believe that a Continuing Resolution extending current funding levels will be passed in late September and that the earliest many FY19 bills will pass Congress, particularly the typically challenging Labor-HHS bill, will be during a lame duck session in November or December.

In the intervening months, it will be important to continue educating members of Congress about these programs that older adults and their caregivers rely upon, and to thank them for their continued investment. Learn more about key messages and timing in our federal budget and 2018 recess advocacy toolkits.

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Marci Phillips

About Marci Phillips

Marci Phillips is NCOA's Director of Public Policy and Advocacy. She oversees NCOA's advocacy efforts related to budget and appropriations for seniors’ programs, Older Americans Act, economic security and hunger, and elder justice.