Congress Returns to a Packed Fall Calendar
After a five-week recess, the House and Senate returned to Washington—and to a full slate of legislative responsibilities. Finalizing federal funding for FY 2020, including for OAA and other aging programs, tops that list.
FY 2020 Appropriations
The House passed the bulk of their FY 2020 funding bills over the summer, but Senate appropriators elected to wait until a two-year Bipartisan Budget Agreement was adopted in July. While the Senate had initially planned to consider funding for the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Health and Human Services (HHS) this week, partisan disagreements stymied that progress. However, Senators did adopt overall funding levels for all federal agencies, including a total of $188 billion for HHS, which is slightly lower than the $190 billion that the House allocated. At this point, it is likely that Congress will have to adopt at least one short-term continuing resolution to keep federal funding flowing past the end of the current fiscal year. Stay tuned to n4a's Legislative Updates for more information as it is available.
The House and Senate continue to make progress on Older Americans Act reauthorization, which expires at the end of September. While both chambers are still aiming for a bipartisan reauthorization, debates over the OAA funding formula and other policy issues have slowed the momentum. n4a will provide updates on the reauthorization's status as soon as we have them, and in the meantime, advocates should continue to urge their Members of Congress to keep this process moving forward. Advocacy tools and resources are available at www.n4a.org/oaa.
Medicare and Medicaid
Other must-do items on the Congress's docket this fall include passing a suite of expiring health care programs, including MIPPA, which provides funding for Aging Network entities to conduct outreach and enrollment assistance for low-income Medicare beneficiaries. n4a also expects to see a long-term extension for the Medicaid Money Follows the Person (MFP) program that supports transitions from institutional care to the community for older adults and people with disabilities.
Stay tuned to n4a's Advocacy Alerts and Legislative Updates for breaking news and advocacy action items during a busy fall policy season.