Advocate!

May 3, 2017: House passes $1.1 Trillion OMNIBUS FUNDING BILL

INCLUDES $3 MILLION INCREASE FOR

OAA NUTRITION PROGRAMS in FY17

 

Thank you to the following elected officials who met with our Executive Director on April 26, 2017 during Meals on Wheels Advocacy Days in Washington DC to hear about the importance of Meals on Wheels People to our seniors: 

  • Senator Wyden 
  • Senator Merkley 

Staff of:

  • Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici 
  • Congressman Kurt Shrader 
  • Congressman Greg Walden 
  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer 

KEEP THE DRUMBEAT GOING FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018

SIMPLE ACTIONS TO TAKE TODAY

With the House and Senate's passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, and the President signing it into law on Friday, this officially concluded work on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, albeit 7 months late. Many programs that impact your work and the seniors you serve received slight increases or were level-funded. Now, as we await additional details on the President's complete FY 2018 Budget Proposal to Congress that is set to come out later this month, we need to continue full steam ahead to advocate for your programs and seniors for the next fiscal year, beginning on October 1.

Senators' signatures needed by may 16

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is circulating a Dear Colleague Letter that will be sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee urging them to increase funding for programs authorized under the Older Americans Act (OAA) in FY 2018 by at least 12 percent above current levels. Senator Sanders has authored similar letters in the past, gaining support from 30+ Democratic Senators. The more signatures this letter receives, the more it will signal to Members of the Appropriations Committee that there is broad backing to increase funding for the OAA.

 

Below are step-by-step instructions on how to reach out to your Senators to encourage them to sign onto this letter in just a few minutes:

 

1

First, if you have any contacts in your Senators' offices, please email them today. You can reference this email template.

2

Identify your program's Senators here.

3

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to reach your program's Senators.

4

Leave a message urging your Senators to sign the OAA Dear Colleague Letter immediately to show their support. You can reference this call script if you need assistance. The deadline to sign is next Tuesday, May 16.

In addition to Senator Sanders (I-VT), Senators Bennet (D-CO), Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Brown (D-OH), Cardin (D-MD), Franken (D-MN), Klobuchar (D-MN), Manchin (D-WV), Markey (D-MA), Murphy (D-CT), Nelson (D-FL), Schatz (D-HI), Stabenow (D-MI), Warren (D-MA) and Whitehouse (D-RI) have already added their signatures.


 

Take action! 

The number of seniors in our country will grow exponentially over the coming years. Meals on Wheels People is a proven public-private partnership that effectively addresses the challenges of aging by promoting health and improving quality of life for our communities’ most vulnerable seniors. Speak out to not only keep seniors at home, but also save billions in tax dollars by keeping them out of more costly healthcare settings. Meals on Wheels People is powered by people just like you and we need your help to fund and protect the programs that support our seniors.

The Older Americans Act (OAA) has been a primary piece of federal legislation supporting social and nutrition services to Americans over age 60 since 1965. OAA programs are vital for seniors who are at significant risk of hunger, isolation and losing their ability to live independently. Funding for OAA programs has decreased by 18% over the past 20 years while the senior population has grown by 34%.

The Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016 passed by Congress reauthorizes programs for FY 2017 through FY 2019. While this is a step in the right direction in protecting this important legislation, it's just as critical that the OAA is adequately funded. Unfortunately, funding has failed to keep pace with the needs of a rapidly growing senior population and OAA Nutrition Programs are serving nearly 23 million fewer meals today than in 2005.

How to speak out for seniors! 


Contact your elected officials and urge them to increase funding to meet the growing population of seniors. Let them know that all seniors in need should have access to nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks; please invest in services and benefits for our seniors! Follow this link to find your elected officials. Write them an actual letter! Writing letters in your own words is an efficient and effective way to influence Members of Congress. Since congressional offices receive only a handful of letters on most issues, each carries real power.

 

Meet and talk to your legislators at O4AD Day at the Capitol! 

O4AD (Oregon Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities) is one of the leading voices advocating for seniors and persons with disabilities in Oregon. Comprised of the Area Agencies on Aging located throughout all corners of Oregon, O4AD advocates to protect the independence, dignity, choice and safety of Oregon’s seniors and people with disabilities.

O4AD Day at the Capitol Wednesday, May 17, 2017 from 8am-2pm
Oregon State Capitol. 900 Court Street NE. Salem OR 97301

Check with the O4AD Political Action webpage for updates and also follow this link to register now

Contact O4AD with questions: 503-463-8692 or info@o4ad.org

 

Oregon Could See Higher Spending if Safety Net Program for Seniors Cut

Gov. Kate Brown has proposed severe cuts to Oregon Project Independence (OPI) to help close a $1.8 billion budget gap for 2017-2019. But limiting support for the program will only push more seniors into Medicaid, which costs the state more than this program, which provides limited help for seniors wishing to stay at home. Sen. Tim Knopp and Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer may lead the bipartisan effort to save the program. Let your State Representatives know that Oregon Needs Full Funding of OPI to Protect Seniors.

 

How widespread is Hunger in Oregon? 

Hunger is persistently increasing in Oregon.
  • Hunger is going up in Oregon, while in the rest of the country it is going down
  • Now is not the time to be making cuts to programs that address hunger
  • We must not balance the budget on the backs of the 1 in 6 Oregonians, including seniors, who struggle to afford food
  • The solution has to include additional revenue, raised in ways that are not regressive

Tell your elected officials not to balance the budget on the backs of the 1 in 6 Oregonians who struggle to afford food.

 

Federal Budget Update: 

 

MAY 3, 2017

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House passes $1.1 Trillion OMNIBUS FUNDING BILL

INCLUDES $3 MILLION INCREASE FOR OAA NUTRITION PROGRAMS in FY17

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (H.R. 244) that will fund government programs for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017 ending September 30. The bill was approved by a vote of 309 to 118 and will now head to the Senate for consideration. If enacted, this legislation would provide a $3 million total increase for Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Programs (both congregate and home-delivered) and level funding for the Social Services, Community Services and Community Development Block Grants for the next five months. At this time, it is likely that the bill will pass in the Senate and reach the President's desk for his signature before the deadline this Friday, May 5.

HOW the omnibus appropriations bill COULD IMPACT YOU

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill proposes increases or level funding for several federal programs that affect senior nutrition programs. At a time when lawmakers are still deeply divided on the role of the federal government and existing fiscal restrictions (or budget caps) that make it difficult for Congress to provide any increases, it is considered a success even to maintain level funding. Given that context, the increases provided in this legislation demonstrate that your voices are being heard on Capitol Hill and re-emphasize our need to continue the steady drumbeat to call for increases in the next fiscal year. Here are some of the highlights within H.R. 244:

 

FEDERAL PROGRAMS

FY 2017 PROPOSED FUNDING LEVELS

 OAA Congregate Nutrition Program (Title III-C1)

$450,342,000

an increase of $2,000,000

 OAA Home-Delivered Nutrition Program (Title III-C2)

$227,342,000

an increase of $1,000,000

 OAA Nutrition Services Incentive Program (Title III) 

$160,069,000

level funding

 OAA Supportive Services (Title III-B) 

$350,224,000

an increase of $2,500,000

 OAA Native American Nutrition Programs (Title VI)

$31,208,000

an increase of $50,000

 Elder Justice Initiatives

$13,874,000

an increase of $2,000,000

 Social Services Block Grant (Title XX)

$1.7 billion

level funding

 Community Services Block Grant

$715,000,000
level funding

 Community Development Block Grant

$3 billion

level funding

 USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program

$236,120,000

an increase of $13,922,000

 USDA Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

$18,548,000

level funding

 USDA Emergency Food Assistance Program

$59,401,000

an increase of $5,000,000

 

 

Keeping an eye on fiscal year 2018, too

Though we are pleased to see OAA funding increases in the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Bill, we know that even these modest increases are not enough to close our nation's growing gap between seniors in need and seniors served.

Through our May kick-off of Older Americans Month and continuing our grassroots efforts throughout the summer, we must continue to raise our voices on behalf of the seniors you serve to push for more substantial funding increases in Fiscal Year 2018. Get started by checking out our Older Americans Month toolkit and Member Advocacy Center to assist you with your advocacy efforts.

Be on the lookout for additional information over the next few weeks that will provide further details about federal funding, more news regarding the President's Fiscal Year 2018 Budget and other ways for you to take action.