October 28, 2021 Advocacy Alert

Your Advocacy Needed to Secure FY 2022 OAA Increases!

Use Our Template Letter to Reach Out to Congress

October 28, 2021

Advocates! We are on the precipice of an historic opportunity to establish new funding thresholds for OAA but we need your advocacy over the next two weeks! Now that Senate Democrats have released their proposed spending levels,  negotiations are underway between the chambers and the Administration to coalesce around final FY 2022 appropriations levels. To learn more and see how the Senate Labor-HHS funding levels compare to the House, President’s budget and USAging’s requests, members can read our October 21 Legislative Update.
After years of cuts, caps and insufficient spending levels, this is our opportunity to ensure OAA programs receive the appropriate funding levels, including some of those outlined in USAging’s FY 2022 appropriations request or provided in the House Labor-HHS bill. Time is of the essence as the Senate and House appropriators try to reach an agreement on all twelve spending bills before government funding (briefly extended through a continuing resolution) expires on Dec. 3.

The good news is that House and Senate funding for OAA and other important federal aging programs are not that dissimilar and align somewhat closely to the President’s proposed budget. The great news is that both chambers have provided significant increases from years past—and now we need to ensure that those funding levels stay in the final bill.
This means that advocates must reach out NOW to push for a FY 2022 funding bill that includes the House-approved levels for OAA and other aging programs. This is the home stretch of FY 2022 advocacy, but perhaps the most critical period yet!
Even if you have already connected with your Members of Congress and asked your grassroots networks to engage, it’s time to do so again! Members of Congress need to hear directly from stakeholders in their state/district and constituents who benefit from the OAA programs and services that you deliver. There is also a chance that if lawmakers can’t agree on a final bill, they will continue to pass short-term funding measures called continuing resolutions (CRs)—perhaps even adopting a year-long CR, which would leave OAA stuck at FY 2021 levels for all of FY 2022, an obviously poor solution.
Take Action Today 
It is imperative that all Senators and Representatives hear from their OAA champions. However, advocacy with Members on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees is especially important. If your Representative or Senator serves on one of these key committees, your letter should request that they share your messages with their committee leaders. At this point, many funding decisions are being made at a leadership level, and the more they hear from their committee colleagues, the more seriously they will consider these requests.
STEP 1: Visit USAging’s FY 2022 OAA Appropriations Advocacy Toolkit to assist your efforts. Our resources include everything you need to take action.
It is important that you take the time to localize what this funding means for the older adults and caregivers in your community, Tribe or state.
STEP 2: Put your agency on record. Send a letter using our updated templates but customize to your agency/community. Send the letter via email to their DC and district offices. Find that contact information on your Members’ websites: www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
STEP 3: Make Your Support for OAA Funding Public. Email or post a short note to lawmakers on social media. Members monitor their email/website traffic for constituent correspondence, and personal messages resonate most.

STEP 4: Engage Your Provider Network. Enlist fellow advocates! Urge your providers, advisory board members and other important stakeholders to send their own letters to Congress or post to social media. Please do all you can to amplify the message and engage others who understand the value of OAA in their community! You’re welcome to forward this Alert to your networks or edit it to be best received by your advocates.
Time is short and we need all AAAs, Title VI Native American programs and local allies to raise their voices in support of Older Americans Act funding. We must ensure that all Members of Congress know how important increased, stable, federal funding for OAA is to promote the health, well-being and independence of their older constituents and those who care for them.

If you have questions or concerns about this Advocacy Alert or USAging’s policy positions, please contact Monica Billger at mbillger@usaging.org and Amy Gotwals at agotwals@usaging.org.

USAging Fact: Learn about your peers’ work—and how it can fit into your agency’s goals! The AIA Awards recognizes successful and innovative programs that USAging members have developed to serve older adults. Get inspiration from our 2023 winners!