The Congressional Appropriations Committees have made significant progress on the FY17 appropriations bills. However, spending amounts aren’t expected to be finalized until much later this year, or possibly early next year.
What’s at stake
The Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill provides most of the funding for aging services programs. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its bill in early June, and the House Committee reported its bill in mid July.
- Senate: $270 million below FY16
- House: $569 million below FY16
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Senate: increased by $2 billion, including a $400 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease research
- House: increased by $1.25 billion, including a $350 million increase for Alzheimer’s research
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
- Senate: eliminated
- House: level-funded at $52.1 million
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
- Senate: cut by $34.4 million (8%)
- House: level-funded at $434.4 million
Older Americans Act (OAA) Supportive Services
- Senate: level-funded at $347.7 million
- House: increased by $5.3 million
Congregate Nutrition Program
- Senate: level-funded at $448.3 million
- House: increased by $5.7 million
Home-Delivered Nutrition Program
- Senate: level-funded at $226.3 million
- House: increased by $8.1 million
Elder Rights Support Activities and Elder Justice Initiative
- Senate: increased by $2 million (raising Elder Justice from $8 million to $10 million)
- House: level-funded at $11.9 million
Many other OAA programs received an increase of less than 1% in the House bill. Check our funding table for more details.
Falls Prevention and Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME), Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), and Aging Network Support Activities are among the OAA programs level-funded in both the Senate and House bills.
Neither of the Labor-HHS bills is expected to be debated on its chamber’s floor. As has become customary, a Continuing Resolution (CR) will fund the programs at the beginning of the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. Whether the CR runs into December or through March 2017 is under debate. Appropriators continue to push for regular order and want to wrap up FY17 spending by December.
What you can do
From now until the lame duck session after the election, Congress will be on recess, with Senators and Representatives working at home during extended District Work Periods. The first will run from July 16-Sept. 6. The second will begin Oct. 1 for the House and Oct. 8 for the Senate and will continue through Nov. 13.
All Representatives and a third of the Senate are up for re-election, unless they are retiring, so these members of Congress also will be campaigning.
While members of Congress are participating in meetings and events in your communities, you have the opportunity to educate them about these important aging services programs and the seniors who rely on them.
We’ve updated our Recess Advocacy Toolkit with new appropriations messages to help you successfully communicate with your Senators and Representatives back home, whether through their events or engagement you create. Resources include:
- Federal budget basics
- How to get an elected official to attend your event
- Top 10 tips for a successful visit to a member of Congress
- 9 tips for town hall meetings
- From Accountable Congress: Find local Congressional events
In this election year, with so much change at stake in the federal government, your help is needed more than ever to make sure that policymakers hear the voices of seniors and their families. Please contact us with questions, concerns, or reports of your advocacy successes!