Advocacy Toolkit: Recess 2017

Making the most of the Congressional recess

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When Congress is on recess, most lawmakers return to their home states to connect with their constituents. That makes it a great opportunity to invite your members of Congress to an event or site visit, set up a meeting at their local office, attend their town hall, or find other personal ways to deliver your message about the issues facing older adults in your community.

2017 Recesses

  • Oct. 6-9 (House), Oct. 9-15 (Senate), Oct. 14-22 (House)
  • Nov. 17-27
  • Dec. 15-31

5 Steps to Connect with Your Lawmakers

  1. Find your legislators’ contact information using our Action Center.
  2. Prepare for an in-person meeting or host a site visit with your legislator.
  3. Attend a town hall meeting if there’s one in your area.
  4. Get prepared with our Advocacy Toolkit.
  5. Tell us how it went. Your response will help us track our advocacy efforts.

Talking Points: FY18 Appropriations

The challenge: The Administration’s budget request for FY18 proposes cuts, and even elimination, of a number of programs that older adults and their families rely on. Congress has indicated that it will pursue its own path for for the FY18 budget, but some of these cuts could still be adopted in this challenging funding environment when lower budget caps and threats of sequester cuts return.

Current status: Congress hasn’t yet passed an FY18 budget resolution, its own budget blueprint, although the House Budget Committee has approved a proposal. Nevertheless, appropriators are moving forward with the FY18 process. The House Appropriations Committee has approved all 12 appropriations bills and the last of the bills are expected to be passed by the full House during the week of Sept. 10. The Senate Committee has approved 9 bills as of September 8.

Key messages and learn more: 

Visit the Federal Budget Advocacy Toolkit for key messages on SHIP, SCSEP, Falls Prevention, and CDSME.

Talking Points: Medicaid Cuts and Affordable Care Act Repeal

The challenge: Senate Republicans are trying to pass a bill to cut and cap Medicaid and repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with a likely vote in July. The bill would cut Medicaid by almost $800 billion, and 22 million Americans would lose their health insurance. The effort would not only cap and cut Medicaid, it would end the expansion and an important home care program, force people aged 55-64 to pay higher premiums, weaken the Medicare Trust Fund, and repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which pays for senior falls prevention and chronic disease management programs.

Key messages:

  • Urge your members of Congress to oppose: (1) capping and cutting Medicaid; (2) charging higher premiums to people aged 55-64; (3) weakening the Medicare Trust Fund; and (4) repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
  • If you can ask a question at a town hall or other event, consider these: (1) The Senate proposal would seriously harm millions of seniors and people with disabilities who need long-term care under Medicaid. Will you pledge to never vote for legislation that cuts and caps Medicaid, ends the program expansion, and rations care for poor seniors, children, and people with disabilities? (2) Will you give up on repealing and replacing the ACA with anything that causes tens millions of Americans to lose their health insurance coverage and forces older adults with modest incomes to pay much higher out-of-pocket costs?

Learn More: Read our Straight Talk post on How the Senate Health Care Bill Would Hurt Seniors.

Remember to Say Thanks

If you are able to meet with your members of Congress, don’t forget to send a thank you. It’s an important way to build the relationship. Send a traditional thank you letter through the mail and express your appreciation in a public way through social media.

Then Share It!

Sharing your advocacy efforts will encourage others to join in the effort. Tweet a photo from your meeting or post a recap on Facebook. Be sure to mention the member of Congress in the post to publicly recognize their willingness to learn more about their senior constituents.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the NCOA Public Policy & Advocacy team.