Happy Friday and it was great to see many of you at GSA in Austin!
Appropriations – On November 21st, President Trump signed a Continuing Resolution (appropriations bill) to fund the government for another month, until December 20. This bill (H.R. 3055) was passed by the House (231-192) and the Senate (74-20) after negotiations on the full Fiscal Year 2020 bill failed to produce a consensus on allocations for each of the 12 subcommittees and a number of other issues including funding for the boarder wall. The CR keeps most of government funded at FY 2019 levels.
Regarding the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies FY 2020 funding, the House passed bill had many important increases for programs serving older adults, including the Older Americans Act and geriatric education. The Senate has released (but not passed) its LHHS appropriations bill and it does not include most of the increases found in the House bill. Those differences will need to be worked out in the final bill, hopefully before December 20 or another CR will be necessary to avoid a shutdown.
The House bill increases the geriatrics program by $2.647 million for a total of $43.384 million and the Senate bill provided level funding.
Here is the House LHHS report: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP00/20190508/109441/HRPT-116-FY2020_LHHSED_Report.pdf
Here is the Senate LHHS report: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/FY2020%20Labor-HHS%20Appropriations%20Act,%20Report.pdf
EMPOWER Act – As you may recall, we are about half way to reauthorization with the full House passing the EMPOWER for Health Act – H.R. 2781 on October 28. This bill reauthorizes the GWEP and GACA programs under Title VII of the Public Health Service Act. The Senate has not yet acted on Senator Collins’ bill, S.299 – the Geriatrics Workforce Improvement Act, and a full Title VII bill has not been introduced. NAGE continues its advocacy for action on our reauthorization and funding in partnership with the Eldercare Workforce Alliance, and AGS.
Older Americans Act – For those of you following the OAA reauthorization, here is a reminder where things stand. The House bill (H.R. 4334, Dignity in Aging Act) passed the full House and was sent to the Senate. In the Senate, several senators, including Collins, Alexander, and Casey, are working on an OAA bill to be introduced in the near future. At the same time, key Senate staff are working with House staff to see if a bipartisan agreement on modifications to the House bill is possible. Those modifications may end up in the Collins bill as well. It is not certain which bill will end up being the final vehicle for passage.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!