Details Emerge on Trump Proposal for OAA
Last week, the Administration released all of the justification details of its FY 2019 budget request for ACL. Included in this request is a proposal to greatly expand states'—but not AAAs'—transfer authority.
After reviewing the details of the 277-page document, n4a has significant concerns regarding the major changes to OAA Title III transfer authority that the Trump Administration proposes granting to states—and states alone. As part of ACL's request to congressional appropriators, who ultimately make funding decisions, they have asked lawmakers include in their FY 2019 funding bills language that would, for that fiscal year, allow state units on aging the authority to redirect “nearly all” OAA Title III funding streams as they see fit.
This week, n4a sent a letter to appropriators requesting that they reject the Administration's proposal. Not only would granting states virtually unlimited transfer authority usurp the jurisdiction of Congress to determine line-item federal funding, but it would also directly contradict current law as it relates to Title III programs (P.L. 114-44). This is sometimes known as “legislating on an appropriations bill” and n4a believes such significant changes to the Act should be made by the authorizing committees during the reauthorization process, and not by the appropriators whose sole job it is to determine annual funding levels.
n4a has additional concerns about the proposal beyond those turf and process issues, however. These include the fact that such a proposal could lead to a de facto block granting of OAA, which has short-term and long-term implications for the health of and support for the Act's programs and services. Giving states this level of flexibility essentially negates the local flexibility that is intentionally built into the Act and led by AAAs. For example, if a state chose to put 95% of the OAA federal funding into home-delivered meals, there would be no role for the AAA to develop a local response to myriad aging issues in that community.
As we explore this proposal further and talk to our members as well as our partners in the Aging Network, n4a will share additional analysis and advocacy opportunities.
If your agency or state has comments or feedback about this proposal, please reach out to n4a Director, Public Policy and Advocacy Autumn Campbell.