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.
- July 27-Sept. 3: House recess; Aug. 4-12 & Sept. 1-3: Senate recess
- Sept. 8-11: both chambers recess
- Sept. 15-24: House recess; Senate recess: Sept. 19 plus weekends
- Oct. 6-8: both chambers recess (House also Oct. 5)
- Oct. 13-Nov. 12: House recess; Oct. 27-Nov.12: Senate recess
- Nov. 17-25: both chambers recess (House also Nov. 26)
- Target adjournment: Dec. 14
5 Steps to Connect with Your Lawmakers
- Find your legislators’ contact information using our Action Center.
- Prepare for an in-person meeting or host a site visit with your legislator.
- Attend a town hall meeting if there’s one in your area.
- Get prepared with our Advocacy Toolkit.
- Tell us how it went. Your response will help us track our advocacy efforts.
Talking Points: FY19 Appropriations
The challenge: The Administration’s budget request for FY19 reiterates many of the cuts and eliminations proposed for FY18 for programs that older adults and their families rely on.
Current status: The House and Senate are working on their own FY19 proposals. Last year’s budget deal will provide room to spare programs from cuts and make some new investments. Both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees approved their bills, and are awaiting floor debate. The Senate is expected to debate its bill in August.
Key messages and learn more: Visit the Federal Budget Advocacy Toolkit for key messages, and access background information on our Federal Budget page and in our Issue Briefs. Learn more in the Falls Prevention and CDSME and Medicare SHIP toolkits
Talking Points: 2018 Farm Bill
The challenge: The Farm Bill is up for renewal in 2018, and proposals from the Administration and the House would make the process of obtaining and keeping SNAP benefits more complicated for older adults and other food insecure households. The bipartisan bill approved by the Senate protects and strengthens SNAP, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and other resources for seniors and their families.
Current status: The House narrowly passed its bill with a re-vote on June 21, and the Senate passed its bill with a strong bipartisan vote on June 28. Leaders in both chambers will try to negotiate a compromise bill, but they are far apart on several nutrition and farm policies. It is unclear whether they’ll make the October 1 deadline to renew the legislation.
Key messages and learn more: Visit the Nutrition & Hunger Advocacy Toolkit for background, the latest updates, key messages and targets.
Talking Points: Money Follows the Person (MFP)
The challenge: Enacted in 2005 with strong bipartisan support, Money Follows the Person (MFP) has helped over 75,000 the lives of older adults and people with disabilities while assisting states with moving away from funding nursing homes in favor of more cost-effective home and community-based services. Unfortunately, MFP expired September 30, 2016, and states are running out of funding.
Current status: Sens. Portman (R-OH) and Cantwell (D-WA), and Reps. Guthrie (R-KY) and Dingell (D-MI), have introduced bipartisan legislation, The EMPOWER Care Act (S. 2227 / H.R, 5306), to improve and extend the program for five years.
Key messages and learn more: Urge your Senators and Representative to help extend MFP by adding bipartisan support for The EMPOWER Care Act by cosponsoring the legislation. Use our action alert to contact your Congressional delegation and learn more from our blog post.
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.
- Use our sample thank you letter to get started.
- Look up your delegation’s social media info using Twitter’s verified list.
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.