Thursday, February 15, 2007

Federal Geriatrics Funding Restoration Goes to President

In an email message circulated to various interested organizations, including some Pennsylvania Area Agencies on Aging, it was reported that, on February 14, 2007, Congress restored federal funding in the budget for geriatrics at $31.5 Million.

Geriatrics was the only Title VII program that had been eliminated in the Fiscal Year 2006 budget, but that can be restored for Fiscal Year 2007, if the President approves.

This restoration began in House Joint Resolution 20 (PDF, 137 pages). It passed the House on January 31, 2007, and also passed in the Senate on February 14, 2007, without amendment, by Yea-Nay vote (81-15).

Having passed both the House and the Senate, it will go to the White House for consideration.
Such a joint resolution is used exactly as a bill to enact law, generally for limited matters. Used this way, it must be passed by both the House and Senate, and also must be signed by the President before becoming law.

Whether President Bush will sign it is unknown, according to its advocates.

To this point, approval has been a battle, according to the email's writer, Elyse A. Perweiler, MPP, RN, who is Associate Director of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, of Stratford, New Jersey:

This has been a long and herculean effort. I thank you all for your help in contacting your legislators and pushing for restoration of funding for geriatrics. It speaks to the strength of our network and how important it has been to make our voices heard. * * *

We will have to rally once again as we seek funding for geriatrics in FY 2008, since geriatrics and other Title VII programs are once again $0. There is also reauthorization to think about.
For more details about H.J.R. 20, adopted by the 110th U.S. Congress (2007-2008), as a "Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2007", see its summary on GovTrack.Us (an independent website), found here.