November 16, 2021 Advocacy Alert


 
Protect FY 2022 OAA Increases!

Tell Congress to STOP Kicking the Can with Continuing Resolutions

November 16, 2021

The clock is ticking and advocacy opportunities are diminishing as we wait for Congress to reach bipartisan agreement on FY 2022 spending levels. Government programs are currently operating under temporary funding at FY 2021 levels until December 3, when the continuing resolution (CR) expires. While the CR is a welcome alternative to a full government shutdown, additional CRs—or funding extensions constructed off of the previous year’s budget—are an undesirable and potentially harmful outcome for the communities you serve if Senate and House appropriators fail to identify a compromise between the chambers’ funding bills. Unfortunately, some congressional leaders are talking about potentially “kicking the can down the road” and drafting the next CR to run through winter or even for the rest of the fiscal year!
 
This means we need you to reach out NOW to advocate FOR a FY 2022 funding bill that includes the House-approved levels for OAA and other aging programs and AGAINST additional CRs!

CRs can cause considerable uncertainty, inefficiency and disruption. Their effects extend well beyond the federal government, making it difficult to fully plan or proceed with programs and services. That is why, as House and Senate appropriators negotiate spending levels over the next two weeks, we need your advocacy to secure new thresholds for OAA spending and not rely on the outdated and insufficient funding levels of yesterday as you plan for tomorrow.
 
Even if you have already connected with your Members of Congress and asked your grassroots networks to engage on OAA appropriations levels, please keep up the drumbeat! 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. 
 
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 Advocacy Alert to your networks or edit it to be best received by your advocates.
 
We need all AAAs, Title VI Native American Aging Programs and local allies to raise their voices in support of Older Americans Act funding and make the local case against more CRs. 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.

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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 2022 winners!