NEWS FROM WASHINGTONThe Senate is in session. The House is out today but will resume work tomorrow, September 24. Join NARC This Wednesday for an OAA Reauthorization Webinar (Register Here)
The federal Older Americans Act (OAA) expires at the end of this month and Congress is gearing up the OAA reauthorization process. Join the National Association of Regional Councils, with our partners from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) September 25th, from 3:00-4:00 PM ET, for a discussion covering: the current status of OAA reauthorization, legal considerations when advocating on behalf of the Older Americans Act, and OAA reauthorization education and outreach tactics you can use when talking to federal representatives. Stopgap Spending Bill Passes House and Receives Support from President
According to Roll Call, a senior White House official has indicated that the president plans to sign H.R. 4378
, the continuing resolution (CR) that was passed by the House last week and is expected to move through the Senate this week. The signing of this bill would prevent a partial government shutdown, at least for the next 51 days. Even if the bill passes, issues regarding funding of border wall construction and other partisan spending items remain and will need to be resolved before the CR expires shortly before Thanksgiving. Senators Urge Full-Year FY20 Census Funding in Continuing Resolution
Preparations for the 2020 Census are swinging into full gear leading Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) to head an appeal from 25 Senators urging a direct full-year appropriation for the Census Bureau. In the Senators’ letter
they request funding at the stakeholder-requested level, including $7.5 billion for the 2020 Census as part of the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government. The Census Bureau has indicated that the Senators have certainty of full funding, as well as flexibility, at the start of the fiscal year to ensure the Census is conducted properly. Failure to acquire full funding could depress participation and increase operational mistakes which could, in turn, increase census costs by billions of dollars. Without appropriate funding, a variety of efforts will be affected including recruiting, hiring, and training of field staff; verifying and updating the final address list; preparing and strengthening cybersecurity and other IT systems; completing robust advertising and messaging campaigns; and preparing for the launch of peak counting operations in remote areas of Alaska, which must start in January 2021. House of Representatives Passes Bill to Preserve Affordable Rental Housing in Rural Areas
The House of Representatives passed by voice vote on September 10 the “Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019
” (H.R. 3620), which aims to preserve affordable homes and avoid displacement in rural areas. The bill, introduced by Representative Lacy Clay (D-MO), would permanently authorize the Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization program, expand the use of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) vouchers, and create an advisory committee to help the agency develop a comprehensive strategy to maintain the agency’s rental housing portfolio, which provides more than 415,000 affordable homes to low-income people living in rural areas. The USDA Section 521 Rental Assistance subsidy is tied to the Section 515 loan and often provides the only housing option for the lowest-income people in rural areas. This bill would help the USDA to restructure Section 515 loans, extend incentives for owners to stay in the program, and provide properties with additional resources to repair and restore homes. The bill provides additional resources for tenants by expanding the use of the Section 542 vouchers, which function similarly to HUD’s Housing Choice Vouchers, to provide continued rental assistance for tenants displaced from Section 515 properties due to prepayment, foreclosure, or mortgage maturation.