ACTION: Please use the July 4th Congressional recess to visit in person with all Members and Senators to urge their support for Lifespan Respite Funding this year. Make an appointment now in your local district offices. To find out contact information, visit www.congress.org and type in your zip code to pull up the name of your Representative, Senators and their local office information. If you want to make your voice heard immediately, you can also connect to their Washington, DC office by calling the Capitol whiteboard at 202-224-3121 and asking for their offices.
Until we have an amendment to specifically support, please use the following message. When and if we have an specific amendment to support, I will send out another message to use.
MESSAGE: We are deeply disappointed in the failure of the House and Senate Appropriations committee to include funding for Lifespan Respite in the FY 08 Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bills. The Lifespan Respite Care Act was passed by Congress and signed by the President in December with strong bipartisan support. With minimal funding of $40 million, respite relief would begin to address the tremendous needs of the nation's 50 million family caregivers who provide loving care everyday to children, spouses, and aging parents with disabilities and chronic conditions in order to keep them at home and out of institutions.
We understand the tremendous pressure Congress is under to restore much-needed funding to health, social service and education programs. And we applaud your efforts in trying to do so in the face of serious fiscal constraints. But in not funding the Lifespan Respite Care Act, you overlooked a critical and cost-effective program that has tremendous potential to help families avoid or delay more costly out-of-home placements, thus saving billions of dollars in Medicaid and other long-term care costs. Respite can also help assure the stability and well-being of the nation's family caregivers, who provide over $300 billion in uncompensated care every year. As family caregivers, we jeopardize our own physical and emotional health, and that of our families. How much longer will we be able to do this without supports such as respite?
Please be assured that we stand ready to assist you in every effort to secure funding for this much needed program.
Please contact Congress today and then circulate this alert widely to networks, affilates, colleagues, parents, families, and neighbors. We've come this far -- don't give up now!