The federal budget and annual appropriations cycle begins in Winter, with action on the president’s budget occurring throughout the Spring. In his fiscal year 2006 budget request sent to Congress in February, President Bush proposed level funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) and other programs under the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA). Under the budget, the NFCSP would receive $155.7 million, the Native American Caregiver Support Program $6.3 million, and the Alzheimer’s Disease Demonstration Grants to States Program $11.8 million. Additional budgetary information can be found on AoA’s website www.aoa.gov/about/
Senators Mikulski (D-MD) and Bond (R-MO) together reintroduced the Ronald Reagan Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act (S. 602), originally introduced in the 108th Congress. The bill includes a caregiver tax credit, lifespan respite provisions, and increased funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program. A house companion measure (H.R. 1262) has also been introduced.
Other federal measures include the Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (S. 282) proposed by U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT). Modeled on legislation introduced in the 108th Congress, S. 282 provides states with grants to implement family leave provisions, including wage replacement; expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover businesses with 25 or more employees, and provide funds for a federal paid leave demonstration. For more information on bills and resolutions visit the U.S. Congress legislative search engine: www.thomas.loc.gov.
Action in state legislatures is also heating up. The Hawaii legislature is considering a number of initiatives (S.B. 560, S.B. 561, S.B. 562, S.D. 1, H.D. 1, H.B. 1119, and S.C.R. No. 60) to assist family caregivers in the state. Initiatives range from work and family policies affecting caregivers to funding a caregiver coordinator position in the state’s aging department. For more information visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov.
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