Election Will Bring Big Changes to DC
In just a few months, a new Administration and a new Congress will arrive in DC ready to get to work.
The most dramatic shift, of course, is the change-over to a Republican White House and the ability of one party to much more easily implement its agenda. The Senate and House will continue to be led by Republicans, but there will be new elected members from both parties to welcome and educate.
n4a traditionally reaches out to the incoming Administration via a transition memo, as their transition teams cue up top issues and personnel, to engage the new leaders on our issues and offer some potential early wins. We expect to release that letter publicly in the next few weeks. The incoming Administration will begin immediate work on forming their FY 2018 budget, due to be released in early to mid-February, as well as naming top cabinet posts that will need Senate confirmation once the 115th Congress convenes in late January. It traditionally takes months to populate the thousands of political positions throughout the federal government, so we won't expect to see a CMS Administrator or Assistant Secretary on Aging named until at early spring at the earliest, or at least after the HHS Secretary has been confirmed by the Senate.
There will also be work ahead to educate the five new Senators and 48 new Representatives on our vital aging policy issues. n4a will produce educational materials geared for grassroots advocates early in the new year to help our members with this relationship building that is the core of effective advocacy.
As to policy proposals we may see in 2017, there are a few that may arise more quickly than others—where the President-elect has a position that aligns with congressional Republicans—such as repealing the Affordable Care Act. It's likely that Medicaid block grants will be back on the table, and depending on the new Administration's approach to budget caps, sequestration and tax cuts, we are bracing for an even-more challenging appropriations environment. If the non-defense discretionary pie is made smaller, it will be even more difficult to secure adequate funding for Older Americans Act and other vital discretionary programs.
The n4a Board's executive leaders and Policy Committee will be working with staff to develop n4a's specific strategies for this changed policymaking environment, including the annual development of our Policy Priorities, to be released in late March.
Meanwhile, save the date for n4a's consummate policy event: the Aging Policy Briefing and Capitol Hill Day, April 3-4, 2017, Washington, DC. Registration will open later this month.