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Background: Congress has a limited window to pass critical FY 2024 appropriations bills before the September 30th deadline. However, there are major disagreements between the House and Senate on funding levels, jeopardizing the future of essential programs.
The Situation: In May, Congress agreed to cap FY 2024 domestic spending at FY23 levels in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling. Unfortunately, the House leadership drastically reduced overall non-defense discretionary spending (NDD) allocations, leading to alarming reductions of up to 25 percent for many programs. See summary of the House subcommittee-passed bill.
The Senate has taken a more bipartisan approach with an Appropriations Committee vote of 26-2 to approve its FY 2024 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill, providing an allocation closer to level funding for most programs. On a positive note, the Senate bill includes increases for important family caregiver supports, including:
- $11.5 million for the Lifespan Respite Care Program ($1.5 million increase)
- $210 million for the National Family Caregiver Support Program ($5 million increase).
- $5 million “to support demonstration grants that develop, test, and scale models that implement commitments and recommended actions from the National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers“
For more information on funding levels for programs in the Department of Health and Human Services included in the Senate appropriations bill, see the Senate Committee Report (pages 372-392).
The Challenge: The gap between the House and Senate appropriation bills, combined with controversial policy amendments in the House bill, makes it extremely challenging to reach an agreement by the October 1st deadline. If they fail to pass the funding bills by then, the government could face a shutdown, putting critical services at risk.
ACTION NEEDED DURING AUGUST RECESS:
During the current month-long Congressional recess, please contact your Members of Congress and urge them to set aside differences and work together in a bipartisan fashion to fund government programs and avoid a government shutdown!
In-person meetings are best!! Contact your Members’ local district offices and set up a meeting this month to visit with them in-person. Find their district contact information on their websites.
- Urge them to support funding for programs that help children and adults with disabilities, older adults, and their family caregivers.
- Urge them to accept Senate funding increases for vital family caregiver support programs, including the Lifespan Respite Care Program and the National Family Caregiver Support Program.
- Urge them to adequately fund necessary programs that will ensure the promise of the National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers that called for public and private actions to provide respite, address the workforce crisis, and support family caregivers.
If you can’t meet in-person, CALL TODAY! Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected to your Representative’s or Senator’s office. Once connected, ask for health or disability staff. If you get their voicemail, leave a message!
You can also send a letter or email. Feel free to use this Sample Letter.
See more Advocacy Tips!
Please pick up the phone and call today, make an appointment with your Representative and Senators, and pass this alert on to your network.
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