Arlington, VA, December 22, 2017 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander released the following statement following passage of H.R. 1370, the Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act of 2018:
In passing another short-term funding bill, Congress has extended its decision deadline once again and given itself until January 19 to finalize federal spending for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, which we are already a quarter of the way through.
Though we are glad to see that this continuing resolution has steered away from legislation put forth by the House last week – in which defense funding would have been prioritized at the expense of other programs that rely on federal appropriations – constantly remaining in a holding pattern is inefficient and eliminates the ability to make investments where needed most. For every day Congress delays its core responsibilities, millions of our nation’s vulnerable seniors and their caregivers who rely on Meals on Wheels face another day of uncertainty about how this vital lifeline may be affected.
Over the next few weeks and into 2018, we will continue to urge Congress to use this extra month to reach a bipartisan budget agreement and raise the caps on defense and nondefense discretionary spending that continue to squeeze Meals on Wheels programs across the country. Any final FY 2018 funding agreement should include a minimum total level of $874.6 million for all Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs and also maintain existing levels for the Social Services, Community Development and Community Services Block Grants. Eight out of ten Meals on Wheels programs rely on a mix of these federal funding sources to deliver nutritious meals, safety checks and friendly visits that enable seniors to remain healthy, independent and out of far more costly healthcare settings.
The longer Meals on Wheels programs across the nation continue to operate on insufficient funding – unable to feed hungry seniors – the wider the gap grows between seniors in need and seniors served. We simply cannot stand by and let that happen, and we will not let up in our efforts to ensure that no senior in our country goes hungry, forgotten or unheard. We hope Congress will hear our call and step up to join us, both for the health of our nation’s seniors and fiscal future.
Jenny Bertolette Young
Meals on Wheels America