Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging is committed to staying engaged in, and sharing, the latest public policy news affecting older adults, caregivers and the professionals who care for them.
Check out current policy news below!
Build Back Better Act Passes House, Now Under Senate Consideration
On November 19, the House passed its version of the Build Back Better Act, which includes over $1.2 billion in new spending for critical programs and services under the Older Americans Act (OAA).
The OAA funding section is broken down as follows:
- $655 million for OAA Title III-B supportive services, to be used for workforce development, services and senior center infrastructure
- $140 million for OAA Title III-C for nutrition infrastructure such as delivery vehicles, kitchen modernization, etc.
- $35 million for the OAA Title V Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
- $75 million for the Research, Demonstration and Evaluation Center, which is a new program included in the 2020 OAA reauthorization, but has not yet been funded
- $150 million for OAA Title III-E family caregiver programs
- $50 million for OAA Title VI Native American programs
- $50 million for the OAA Title VII long-term care ombudsman program
- $59 million for ACL’s technical assistance and resource centers in general
- $15 million for ACL’s LGBTQ resource center
- $1 million for the engAGED resource center
- $5 million for intergenerational demonstration projects
Other important provisions for older adults and aging services providers include:
- A retroactive waiver of the American Rescue Plan Act’s Older Americans Act funding match requirement
- $4.2 billion in funding to reauthorize and modernize the Elder Justice Act to address the critical need to combat elder abuse, neglect and exploitation
- $150 billion in new funding for home and community-based services under Medicaid
- Out-of-pocket cap for Medicare Part D enrollees
- Full payment coverage for all vaccines under Medicare
The legislation is now being considered by the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated that the Senate will join the House in passing the Build Back Better bill before Christmas. Current expectations are that the Senate will pass a bill, but it will be different than the House version. This would mean differences will have to be worked out between the two, as only one bill goes to the President for signature.
Federal FY 2022 Funding Update
In early December, both the House and Senate passed and the President signed into law an extension of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Continuing Resolution, ensuring no government shutdown for now. The extension will fund the government through February 18, 2022. This means funding levels from FY 2021 will continue through February 18 with no increases and no cuts from the current level.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Passes House
On November 5, the House of Representatives passed the Senate's infrastructure bill and sent it to the President for his signature. This bill contains funding for roads, bridges, transit, broadband, and other traditional infrastructure projects, and was the product of bipartisan negotiation. Though this legislation is not specific to older adults, it does contain funding for increasing transit accessibility and extending broadband in rural areas, both of which are issues which greatly impact older adults. These projects will be largely driven by local governments, so be sure to follow local and state legislators for updates and breaking information.
The Washington Update is produced monthly with our partners at Matz, Blancato & Associates to share the latest information about policy issues impacting older adults and their families. Subscribe here.