As Virus Cases Grow, Senate-Proposed Relief Measures Shrink
This week, amid bipartisan, bicameral calls to infuse another round of federal funding into Older Americans Act programs and services, Senate majority leadership introduced another policy proposal that is half the size of the recently introduced HEALS Act, the previous package from Senate Republicans. The new measure limits relief to a few areas only: extended unemployment and additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, the USPS, COVID-19 testing, and schools that choose to reopen in person this fall.
Meanwhile, House leaders are insisting that significant federal investments in state and local governments, Medicaid and other safety net programs, and broader health care programs must be part of the next coronavirus relief package. One priority that both political parties and chambers of Congress agree on is that additional funding is needed for OAA programs that keep older Americans, who are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic's consequences, safe at home. Local advocacy will be essential as discussions proceed on a broader package. Negotiations are ongoing but, as yet, unproductive.
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