NEWS FROM WASHINGTONCongress is in session.Take Action Now: Support House Funding Levels for Health and Human Services Programs
Over the next several weeks, the House and Senate will be drafting a final fiscal year (FY) 2020 omnibus appropriations bill in hopes of meeting a November 21 deadline, when the current continuing resolution expires.
The House fiscal year 2020 proposed appropriations bill is overall much more favorable to funding for the Older Americans Act
(OAA) and other key Health and Human Services programs. It would increase funding for a wide range of human services programs important to regions, especially those regions that are also designated as the Area Agency on Aging (AAA). In contrast, the fiscal year 2020 Senate Labor/Health and Human Services (HHS) bill would maintain funding at current levels.
The Senate appropriations bill would level the funding for Title III of the Older Americans Act (OAA). The House, in contrast, would increase overall funding by $151 million; a 10 percent increase over fiscal year 2019. The same is true for Title V programs. The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) would be level funded if the Senate fiscal year 2020 appropriations level becomes law; but would increase by about 15 percent if the House funding proposal is adopted.
Other HHS programs such as the Community Services Block Grant and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program would also see a funding increase if the House appropriations bill becomes law. While none of the proposed increases are large, they all represent a movement away from previous fiscal year appropriations, which were either level funded or reduced funding to these important programs.
NARC encourages you to:
- send a letter to your senators and representatives urging them to support the House appropriations recommendations;
- have your elected officials reach out to their senators and representatives urging them to support the House appropriations levels; and
- ask your service providers to reach out to their senators and representatives urging them to support the House appropriations level.
A forthcoming blog will provide you with more detail on the House and Senate appropriations bills, as well as links to sample letters and other information. If you have any questions please contact Neil Bomberg by email (email@example.com
) or by phone (202 255 2704). NARC Joins Partner Organizations to Submit Comments on Opportunity Zones
Last week, NARC joined its partners at the International Economic Development Council, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, Rural Community Assistance Partnership, and SSTI to respond to the Department of Commerce’s request for information on Opportunity Zones
(OZ). The letter provides our joint responses on questions posed by the Department of Commerce, including “how can public and/or private sector recipients leverage federal grants and loans in a more integrated way?” and “what data would be useful… to evaluate the economic development impact of program investments… in qualified OZs?” Read the letter here
. Trump Announces Brouillette as Energy Nominee to Replace Secretary Perry
In light of Secretary of Energy Rick Perry’s sudden announcement to resign from his post at the Department of Energy (DOE) before the end of the year, President Donald Trump announced he is nominating Dan Brouillette to be the next Secretary of Energy. Brouillette worked at DOE during the George W. Bush administration and has followed Perry’s lead on policy. Both Perry and Brouillette supported a plan to require power plants to carry a 90-day supply of fuel at their facilities, which was rejected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Brouillette’s current role at DOE has him attending conferences and meetings worldwide to promote the sale and export of natural gas. House Panels Advance Drug Bill Set for Floor Action this Month
The House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Education and Labor Committee both approved a bill designed to limit drug prices last Thursday. The 141-page bill (H.R. 3
) includes requirements for the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate Medicare prices for the most expensive drugs, with commercial health plans also having the option of adopting those prices. The upper limit of the negotiated prices would be based on what other wealthy countries pay. The bill would also impose a $2,000 out-of-pocket spending maximum for beneficiaries in Medicare’s prescription drug program, Part D. According to preliminary
assessments from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the bill could lead to $345 billion in savings over a decade. Around $42 billion would come from reductions in other medical spending, since CBO estimated that lower drug prices might drive people to use a prescription rather than get a more costly medical procedure. Democrats hope to use the anticipated savings from the bill to expand Medicare coverage.