February 21, 2019 Advocacy Alert
The first six weeks of the 116th Congress have been eventful as Democrats gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate. Legislative activities resolving the record-long partial federal government shutdown, major reorganizing among a new House majority, and ramped up Administration oversight efforts have consumed the initial weeks of a new Congress.
As Members of Congress—both new and returning—settle in to their roles, now is a great time to reach out and engage your federal elected officials about the critical role that your agency, along with AAAs and Title VI Native American aging programs around the country, serves in enabling older adults and caregivers aging at home and in the community.
This week, n4a sent a letter to all new Members of Congress and Members serving on committees that are critical to advancing the interests of older adults and caregivers. We sent this group of congressional leaders n4a’s recently released Policy Brief, What the 116th Congress Needs to Know About an Aging America, which outlines key principles that policymakers should consider when making decisions about an aging America and introduces Older Americans Act reauthorization and funding as important near-term legislative issues.
Local Advocates Must Weigh In!
In addition to n4a’s outreach, it is critical that local AAAs and Title VI programs contact your members of Congress to reinforce these messages. It is essential that Congress hears from you as they move forward with major policy decisions in 2019—including reauthorizing the Older Americans Act and considering increasing investments for OAA and other aging programs! Please engage your Members of Congress now and make it a priority to regularly educate them about your agency and the work you are doing locally to keep older constituents and their caregivers healthy and independent in the community for as long as possible.
We encourage you to use n4a’s template language to develop your own letter to send to your Members of Congress. Make sure to include information about your local agency and the people you serve in their districts and states and a link to n4a’s Policy Brief.
- STEP 1: Write to Your Members of Congress! All AAAs and Title VI programs should make sure to send a letter or email to Members of the 116th Congress. Use n4a’s template letter to help guide your outreach but be sure to customize messages with information about your own agency. Make sure to share our latest Policy Brief!
Outreach is especially important if your Member of Congress serves on any of the following House Committees: Appropriations, Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Budget or Education and Labor; or on the following Senate Committees: Appropriations, Finance, Budget, Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) or Aging. You can find contact information for offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
- STEP 2: Ask for a Visit! Invite Members to come see your programs in action or ask for a meeting when they are back in their districts and states. The House and Senate schedules are show when they are scheduled to be at home you’d like a meeting when you’re in town.
Also, if you are coming to DC in less than two weeks for the n4a Aging Policy Briefing & Capitol Hill Day March 5-6, make sure to remind them about that!
- STEP 3: Plan Ahead! In addition to n4a’s Policy Brief for the 116th Congress, over the next two weeks we will release n4a’s Recommendations for the OAA Reauthorization and n4a’s 2019 Policy Priorities. Now is a great time to introduce your Members of Congress to your agency and your work, so that you can follow up soon with future n4a policy resources as well!
Note: as you reach out it’s also important to PERSONALIZE the letters you send and share anecdotes about the importance of your agency and OAA programs in your community.
Thank you for your advocacy!