Thursday, August 12, 2021

Not to be outdone by this past week’s extreme weather, Congress had a whirlwind week. The Senate passed a $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Tuesday. Then, they proceeded to work through the night in a high-stakes “vote-a-rama” to pass a $3.5 trillion budget resolution.  

Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act 

This bipartisan bill would be the largest investment in public works in decades. It includes several historic investments critical to long-standing public transit and digital access issues that were highlighted by the pandemic, including: 

  • $65 Billion for Broadband Expansion  
  • $39 Billion for Public Transit  

Other funding of interest includes: 

  • $110 billion for roads and bridges 
  • $65 billion for the power grid 
  • $55 billion for water infrastructure 
  • $47 billion for cybersecurity and climate change  
  • $21 billion for the environment 

 The infrastructure bill now heads to the House. 

Federal Budget 

On July 29, the House passed a FY22 spending package that covers Older Americans Act services including: 

  • $1.4B for Nutrition Programs (46% increase)  
  • $551M for Home and Community-Based Services (40% increase) 
  • $31.3M for Health Promotion Services (26% increase)  
  • $250M for Caregivers Services (32% increase)  

Directly after passing the massive bipartisan infrastructure package on August 10, the Senate went on to pass a $3.5 trillion budget resolution. This was not a bipartisan effort and the resolution passed along party lines, 50-49. Its passage sets the Senate up to proceed with the reconciliation process where they will discuss the details of the final reconciliation bill.  

It’s likely that the House of Representatives will cut short their recess and return to work August 23 to pass an identical budget resolution. The budget resolution directs Senate and House committees to write legislation within the spending targets set forth in the resolution. Congress has until September 15 to pass a budget or a continuing resolution to keep the government funded. 

Of critical importance is the proposed $400 billion for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and shoring up the direct care workforce that provides these essential services.  HCBS include supports that keep older adults in their homes and communities for as long as possible. These services include things like Home Delivered Meals and transportation services.  More advocacy is needed as the key committees consider the specific legislative details of the final budget bill.  

Support Older Adults. Your legislators want to hear from you. 

Please continue to advocate for essential HCBS and contact your legislators by following the links on our AgeGuide Advocacy page. 


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