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LSA Washington – July 20, 2010

A regular publication from the LSA Public Policy Office

LSA Advocacy News

From Jill Schumann, President and CEO of LSA:

"It is with mixed feelings that I write to tell you that Lisa Hassenstab has accepted a great position as Vice President of Advocacy with Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Lisa has been a real gift to LSA and was not looking for a job; however, this opportunity was too good for Lisa to turn down. We are sad to see her leave LSA but are also glad she is still staying in the Lutheran social ministry system!

"Lisa's last day will be July 30th. This does mean we are starting to look for excellent candidates for the position of Director of Advocacy and Policy. We hope you will help us to identify potential candidates or individuals from SMOs or elsewhere who may have interest in the position. A job description for the position will be posted later this week on the LSA website. Please do let me know if you have any questions; I can be reached via email or at 410-230-2702."

Senate Passes Cloture on Unemployment Insurance Extension; FMAP, Housing Trust Fund Still Uncertain

With the swearing in of the new Senator from West Virginia, Carte Goodwin (D), on Tuesday afternoon, the Senate reached the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture to end debate on legislation that would extend unemployment benefits. Two Republican Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine, voted for cloture. The legislation extends long-term unemployment insurance through November, and is retroactive to the beginning of June, when they last expired. A final vote is expected later this week.

The extension of unemployment insurance was passed separately from the "tax extenders" package it was originally included within; the future of the rest of the extenders package, which includes an extension of an enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) rate, remains uncertain. Senate Democratic leaders continue to push for its passage before the Senate leave for August recess on August 6, but they do not yet have the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture.

LSA is continuing to advocate for the passage of this or any legislation which contains the enhanced FMAP extension, as well as the extension of enhanced COBRA subsidies, funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, an extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund and the reestablishment of the IRA charitable deduction tax provision. LSA members that support any or all of these provisions are encouraged to send a letter to the editor of their state and local newspapers (click here for a sample letter), as well as continue to contact their Senators (click here for a sample script).

For more information, please contact Lisa Hassenstab via e-mail or at 202-626-7932.

Senate T-HUD, L-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees to Markup This Week

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittees for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Labor, Health and Human Services will meet this week to mark up their appropriations bills for fiscal year 2011. The T-HUD subcommittee is scheduled to meet Wednesday, July 21, at 10:30 AM, and the L-HHS subcommittee is scheduled to meet Thursday, July 22, at 2:00 PM. Both markups will likely be available to watch on the Senate Appropriations Committee website. Advocates are encouraged to contact their members of Congress who sit on these committees to relay their support for federal funding of housing, urban development, and health and human services programs.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development marked up their legislation earlier this month. The subcommittee did retain funding for new construction for both the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly and Section 811 Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities programs. The Obama Administration had zeroed out that funding in their FY 2011 budget request; LSA and other nonprofit organizations have since advocated for the contiuation of that funding in Congress' FY 2011 budget and are pleased at the House's inclusion of funding for these important programs. A breakdown of the House subcommittee's bill as compared to last year's bill as well as the marking up the T-HUD appropriations bill this afternoon.

Medicaid Turns 45

Did you know that Medicaid serves more than 59 million people including 8 milliion people with disabilities under the age of 65 and pays for 80 percent of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities?

In less than two weeks, Medicaid turns 45. LSA-DN invites you on July 30 to celebrate home and community-based services and highlight the barriers that remain in accessing Medicaid. Check out the LSA-DN toolkit that includes sample press statements, church bulletins, fliers, event ideas and fact sheets. For more information or to let us know what your organization is doing to celebrate, please contact Meg Cooch at 202-626-7949 or email.

Invite Your Elected Officials to Your Site in August!

Now is the time to plan for and invite your federal elected officials to do a site visit to learn more about your organization while they are home for the month of August. To learn more about hosting your elected officials for a site visit, click here or contact Lisa Hassenstab via email or at 202-626-7932, or Meg Cooch via email or at 202-626-7949.

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