The National Respite Coalition relies on the grassroots network through state respite and caregiving coalitions to secure support for our legislative efforts. Congressional Members are most responsive to their own constituents. There is only one more week left in the Congressional recess to meet with your Senators and urge them to cosponsor S. 995, the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019. Despite past legislative alerts to activate coalitions to take action, not one additional Senator has agreed to co-sponsor the bill. Currently, the only Senate cosponsors of the bill are the two Senators who introduced the bill last Spring, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). The House has already passed a reauthorization bill that authorizes Congress to appropriate $200 million for the program over the next five years.
We are also requesting that you urge your Representatives in the House and your Senators to support $20 million in the final FY 2020 appropriations bill. The Senate may take up its funding bill immediately after the recess. The House-passed appropriations bill includes $10 million for the program. The most recent budget agreement may force the House to revisit its $10 million levels of support, as cuts will have to be made to stay within the budget allocations.
The NRC strongly urges each of you to reach out to your Senators today, and then activate your own networks to do the same. If you have already met with your Senators or their staff, please let me know what the response has been. You can also meet with your Representative to urge them to stand strong and continue to support at least the $10 million already included in the House-passed bill.
See the attached as well as the most recent NRC alert for more information and talking points.