The New Year brings congressional action on many overdue pieces of legislation. Notably, the fiscal year 2004 appropriations bills were not enacted by September 30, the usual end of fiscal year deadline. Nor were they enacted by the end of the calendar year.
By January 22, 2004, however, lawmakers voted to approve an omnibus funding measure which consolidated funds for many programs and services. Congress and the President approved $159 million for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), an increase of almost $4 million over fiscal year 2003 levels. Advocates were hoping for much larger increases, as many in Congress have called for a doubling of the funding for this key program.
President Bush has released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2005. The budget lays out a funding blueprint for all government-funded agencies and programs, including those on which caregiving families rely. For 2005, the Bush budget would provide only a small increase for the National Family Caregiver Support Program—to $161.8 million, $2 million more than in the prior fiscal year. Other programs within the U.S. Administration on Aging, such as the Alzheimer’s Initiative, would be cut or receive similarly small increases.
Congress will spend March debating the federal budget, which serves as a blueprint for the spring/summer appropriations process, when actual funding levels are debated and enacted.
To request that your congressional representatives support larger increases for programs and services that assist families and their loved ones, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and you will be transferred to the appropriate office.
For more information on current caregiving and long-term care legislation, see the FCA Caregiving PolicyDigest.
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