Senators Struggle to Find Common Ground on COVID-19 Relief
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Section: July Associate Newsletter

This week Senate Republicans released details of their next round of virus relief legislation, and it is abundantly clear that continued advocacy will be essential to ensure that older adults are not left out of the final version of emergency legislation responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

At this point, even the Republican caucus is split on the scope of a bill, and Senate and House Democrats have rejected the suite of legislative measures, known as the HEALS Act, largely because of issues that it does not address—including additional state and local government aid, federal Medicaid funding and additional support for critical safety net programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The HEALS Act is roughly one-third the size of the House-passed HEROES Act, and focuses largely on providing another round of stimulus payments and money for schools that choose to reopen. Furthermore, continued funding for policies supporting older adults—such as additional Older Americans Act funding and boosts to state Medicaid programs—are minimal or left off the table entirely.

Moving forward, the majorities in each chamber must negotiate a final deal, so it is absolutely critical that aging advocates continue to weigh in with lawmakers and insist that they include ongoing supports for older Americans. Stay tuned to n4a for updated advocacy news and messages.