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Build Back Better Act Awaits Official Cost Estimate, Final Votes

November 11, 2021

Updated Nov. 15, 2021

A group of House Democratic moderates is withholding support until the full cost of the legislation is determined.

The timeline for passing the Build Back Better Act remains uncertain. It is unlikely the House will be able to advance the legislation until a full cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office is released, likely after Thanksgiving.  Because there will likely be changes made as the bill then advances through the Senate, Lutheran Services in America will continue to advocate to keep key provisions that would help address the acute workforce shortage and expand access to home and community-based services including:

  • $150 billion to incentivize states to deliver or improve home- and community-based service programs, including through increasing wages and benefits for direct care workers;
  • $1 billion for a grant program funding strategies to recruit and retain direct care workers; and
  • the provisions of the WORK NOW Act to create a $50 billion grant program supporting nonprofits in paying wages and benefits.

Please join us in this effort through our advocacy alert.

Biden Administration Issues Vaccine Mandates for Workers

Following the release on November 5 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of vaccine mandates with a final compliance deadline of January 4, 2022, for facilities governed by the Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation (CoPs) and employers with 100 or more employees, respectively, Lutheran Services in America has published detailed summaries of the mandates and what they mean for members of our network. We encourage you to review both our CMS and OSHA summaries.

It is important to note that the CMS mandate takes precedence over the OSHA mandate: if a given facility meets the eligibility requirements for both, it should follow the CMS mandate.  Also, subsequent to the filing of multiple lawsuits objecting to the OSHA mandate, that rule is under an emergency stay, with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordering that OSHA “take no steps to implement or enforce” the mandate “until further court order.”  Nevertheless, OSHA has urged providers subject to that mandate to plan as though it will take full effect and be prepared to meet the first compliance deadline of December 5.  While multiple lawsuits have also been filed against the CMS mandate, no emergency stay or injunction has yet been issued on that rule.  Lutheran Services in America will be submitting official comments on both mandates and we encourage you to share your questions or concerns with us to inform those comments by emailing Sarah Dobson, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, at sdobson@lutheranservices.org .

Upcoming Congressional Town Hall Meetings

Members of Congress continue to hold virtual town hall meetings to address constituent concerns about coronavirus relief. Here is a look at upcoming sessions (click links below to find out how to join):

Member District Party Format Date & Time Link
Rep. Gregory Meeks NY-5 D Facebook Every Tuesday at 5 pm ET More information
Rep. Claudia Tenney NY-22 R Virtual (veterans) Tues. Nov. 16, 6 pm ET More information
Rep. Adam Smith WA-9 D Virtual Tues. Nov. 16, 6 pm PT More information
Rep. Brad Sherman CA-30 D Telephone Tues. Nov. 16, 7 pm PT More information
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez NY-14 D Virtual Thurs. Nov. 18, 5:30 pm ET More information

By Sarah Dobson, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, and Josh Dubensky, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Lutheran Services in America Disability Network