Following the approval by the House of Representatives in late August of the budget resolution containing instructions for writing the broad “human infrastructure” package to enact much of President Biden’s American Jobs and American Families Plans, the various House committees with jurisdiction over portions of the package have moved forward with crafting legislative language, in conjunction with their Senate counterparts. Numerous committees have held sessions this week to consider parts of the bill. A highlight for our network in the legislation in its current form is $1.48 billion to fund strategies to recruit and retain direct care workers, including raising wages and creating training opportunities to help address the direct care workforce shortage. Nonprofits “with experience in aging, disability, supporting the rights and interests of direct care workers, or training or educating direct care workers” would be eligible for the funding.
Democratic party leaders continue to express optimism that the House will vote on a package the last week of September, with relatively quick Senate approval to follow, but the process remains complicated by the continued disagreement within the party on what the final cost of the package should be, and what should be included. Notably, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) continue to state that they will not support the package at its current cost.
We continue to advocate in support of key provisions of the President’s proposals, particularly the $400 billion HCBS investment and a provision for $213 billion for affordable housing and homelessness services, and are urging the inclusion of the WORK NOW Act legislation to provide nonprofit health and human services organizations funding to pay wages, salaries, and benefits to retain staff and meet services’ demand. Please join us in this effort through our advocacy alert calling for inclusion of these key initiatives in the package.
By Sarah Dobson, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy