House advances McMorris Rodgers’ bill to bolster lifespan respite care

The U.S. House of Representatives on July 24 passed a bipartisan bill cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) to reauthorize funding for coordinated respite services.

“I look forward to continue working to see this legislation signed into law,” Rep. McMorris Rodgers said.

The congresswoman in April introduced the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019, H.R. 2035, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI).

H.R. 2035 on Thursday advanced to the U.S. Senate, where the same-named companion bill, S. 995, is under consideration in the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

If enacted, the proposal would authorize federal funding for the next five years for the Lifespan Respite Care Program at: $20 million for fiscal year (FY) 2020; $30 million for FY 2021; $40 million for FY 2022; $50 million for FY 2023; and $60 million for FY 2024, according to the bill’s text.

The Lifespan Respite Care Program was authorized by Congress in 2006 as coordinated systems of accessible, community-based respite care services for family caregivers of children and adults of all ages with special needs that reduce duplication efforts and assist in developing respite care infrastructures at the state and local levels, according to the federal Administration for Community Living.

“There are millions of people in America today providing care to loved ones with chronic, debilitating conditions,” Rep. McMorris Rodgers said. “Respite care agencies provide these family caregivers with short-term relief and serve as an essential part of a comprehensive health care approach.”