Senate Bill Will Support Family Caregivers

Posted by Reeve Foundation Staff in Daily Dose on January 26, 2016 # Advocacy and Policy

On December 8, 2015 the Senate passed the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act. The bill would require the US Secretary of Health and Human Services to bring together federal agencies, advocates, industries, and state and local governments to create a national strategy to support family caregivers. The strategy will include: person-and family-centered care, assessment and service planning, respite, financial security, and family-friendly workplace policies.

The bill was introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). The next step is for the House of Representatives to work on the bill. An identical bill was introduced in the House in July, 2015 by Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), and Diane Black (R-TN). The Reeve Foundation supports both bills and is working with disability, aging, and family organizations in DC to advance this legislation and other policies to support caregivers.

Caregiving and the needs of family caregivers have been attracting more attention on Capitol Hill. Earlier in 2015, bipartisan members of Congress launched the Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Michael bennet (D-CO), and Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) are the first co-chairs of the caucus. “We hope to bring attention to what caregivers are going through,” Ayotte said. “We’re all in this together.” This bipartisan caucus includes members from both the House of Representatives and Senate. Members of Congress often form caucuses to show their commitment to certain issues and work together on legislative solutions.