February 4, 2020 Advocacy Alert



Urge Congress to Pass OAA Reauthorization!


February 4, 2020

Last week, leaders on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and Aging Committees introduced a bipartisan, bicameral compromise bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act for five years. The Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020, H.R. 4334, reflects a diligent effort from both House and Senate lawmakers to achieve an OAA reauthorization proposal that supports the needs of the nation’s growing number of older adults—and includes many of n4a’s top priorities.
 
As detailed in last week’s Legislative Update, the final compromise measure includes many of the same—or slightly modified—provisions that were in the House-passed bill and the bill that the Senate introduced in December. This is good news as many of legislative specifics were carefully drafted and included intensive input from n4a and other aging advocates.
 
n4a has endorsed the bill, and we are optimistic that the Senate and House will advance the compromise measure in the very near future. However, it is critical that lawmakers hear from local aging advocates to help get OAA reauthorization over the finish line! Contact your lawmakers to urge them to approve the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020!


Next Steps for OAA Reauthorization

The Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020, H.R. 4334, could circumvent additional committee action in the Senate to move straight to floor consideration. This is great news because it would significantly expedite the Senate approval process.
 
Following what we hope will be speedy Senate approval, the bill would then have to go back to the House for passage before heading to the President’s desk for signature. We don’t anticipate major hurdles to House approval, but we do know that action from grassroots advocates will be essential to ensuring that this bill gets to the President’s desk this winter!


Take Action!
  • Contact your Senators and Representatives to let them know why it is important to pass the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020, H.R. 4334!
WRITE A LETTER: Use n4a’s template endorsement letter to let your congressional delegation know that you want them to act soon to approve on H.R. 4334. Make sure to email or fax it to your Members’ offices. You can find Senate websites at: www.senate.gov/senators/contact and House websites at: www.house.gov/representatives. Note, if you have individual contacts in your lawmakers’ offices, it is best to reach out to them directly.
 
CALL: The Capitol Switchboard (202.224.3121) can connect you to your lawmakers’ DC offices. Let them know why reauthorizing the OAA is important to the older adults and caregivers in their districts. Include a short data point or story about the value of local OAA services and the needs in your community.
 
  • Engage your grassroots network! Alert them via email, social media or other advocacy channels that we need Congress—and especially the Senate at this time—to act on OAA reauthorization! The more calls or emails about OAA your lawmakers receive, the more engaged they will be.
  • Use n4a’s OAA Advocacy Toolkit to educate others and assist your efforts. Our toolkit has everything you need to learn more and take action— social media messages and images, media messages, a template grassroots Advocacy Alert, a fact sheet about the OAA and more!  
While the recently introduced compromise bill was a significant step forward and we remain very optimistic about the prospects for achieving OAA reauthorization soon, local advocates must act! Stay tuned to n4a and continue to educate your lawmakers about the value of OAA programs and services to your community. Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue!

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If you have questions or concerns about this Advocacy Alert or n4a’s policy positions, please contact Autumn Campbell a
acampbell@n4a.org and Amy Gotwals at agotwals@n4a.org.