Thursday, July 16, 2020

Federal Updates

COVID Relief

Congress is currently on recess, but lawmakers will return to Washington next week on July 20th. The House already passed their version of the next COVID relief bill, the HEROS Act, but the Senate plans to begin working on their own version of a bill, which is likely to reach a vote by August.


House appropriators are currently working on 12 federal funding proposals for FY 2021. The House Appropriations Committee released the drafts of eight of these regular spending bills last week, including the FY 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) bill. This bill funds the Older Americans Act (OAA) and other aging programs. The draft bill provides nearly $221 billion in funding, including $24.4 billion in emergency supplemental funding to build upon previous COVID-19 response packages, support state and local health departments, and bolster the nation’s public health infrastructure. The full House Labor-HHS-Ed Appropriations Subcommittee is expected to consider this legislation this week.

The Senate is expected to begin working on their appropriations process once they return from recess next week. Ultimately, both chambers have a September 30 deadline to pass a new budget before the current fiscal year ends. If they miss the deadline, they will need to pass a Continuing Resolution to fund the government at current levels and keep it running until a new bill can be passed.

The proposed FY21 Administration for Community Living (ACL) budget – funded at $2.3 billion, is an increase of $56 million above the FY 2020 enacted level. This includes:

  • $957 million for Title III-C nutrition programs, an increase of $20 million
  • $400 million for Title III-B Home and Community-based Supportive Services, an increase of $10 million
  • $206 million for Title III-E Family and Caregivers Services, an increase of $10 million.

Advocacy Opportunities

Here’s what we’re working on right now. You can help!

Senate COVID Relief

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, n4a, is asking Congress to provide at least $1.1 billion in additional emergency funding to key Older Americans Act programs and services, with an emphasis on funding for nutrition services, supportive services and resources to address social isolation and technology gaps. Reach out to your Illinois Senators this week and tell them to prioritize older adults and alleviate widespread social isolation and loneliness during and beyond the current crisis.

Framework to Improve Outcomes for Older Adults

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) recently released its Strategic Framework for Action: State Opportunities to Integrate Services and Improve Outcomes for Older Adults and People with Disabilities. The Framework describes how states can build community integrated health networks (Community-Based Organizations that partner with health care organizations) and use existing funding to better address social determinants of health and independence, such as transportation, housing, nutrition, and technology. Read the Framework and provide feedback via email by August 31.

Elder Abuse

The COVID-19 pandemic is especially challenging for those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As Congress works to pass legislation to address the effects of the current crisis, the Alzheimer’s Association is championing the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act (H.R.6813/S.3703) which aims to improve the prevention of elder abuse and exploitation of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Contact your legislators about this bill here.



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