Federal Budget Avoids Drastic Cuts to Park and Rec Funding...For Now
NRPA Advocacy Insider
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FY2017 Budget Passes, Healthcare Moves to the Senate

Capitol Hill seldom sees a week, let alone day, let alone single hour when both the House of Representatives and Senate are taking action on separate pieces of legislation that are intended to impact millions of lives and communities in every corner of the country. This week, in fact Thursday, May 4 shortly after 2 p.m. ET to be exact, was one of those times.

At nearly the exact same time, the Senate was putting their bipartisan approval to the final FY2017 budget package, which was later signed into law and will keep all federal agencies and programs running through the end of the fiscal year (September 30), the House was voting on their legislation which would repeal the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). The Public Policy Team provides an overview of what these actions mean (and don't mean) for parks and recreation and the communities you serve. There is much good news to share with regard to preserving and protecting critical funding for our policy priorities and we also provide the outlook for the House-passed healthcare legislation as it moves to the Senate.

The summer has the looks of a fun carnival ride senators and representatives have much less time than normal to put together the federal spending budget for FY2018 which begins on October 1. At the same time, the Senate still has to debate the healthcare bill and both chambers are interested in crafting comprehensive tax reform legislation (something Washington hasn't been able to do since the mid-1980s).

The Public Policy Team thanks you for the your continued advocacy work which played a critical part in the successes in the FY2017 spending bill. Now, we're turning our attention to what promises to be a much more challenging budget cycle this summer. The President is scheduled to release his detailed budget request by May 17. His "skinny" budget from March included requests for major cuts (over $50 billion in non-defense discretionary programs), including over 12 percent overall from Department of Interior, 30 percent from the EPA, and eliminating Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), and others. We'll need your help in the coming days, weeks and months, so please utilize the Advocacy Action Center and the Park Champions program to keep sharing the importance of parks and recreation with your federal legislators. Your voice DOES make a difference.
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Yesterday the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628) which repeals significant portions of the Affordable Care Act, including a full repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The bill will now move to the Senate and if the provision in the House bill related to the Prevention Fund remains the same, funding will no longer be available after the end of FY2018 next September.
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NRPA is proud to welcome Kate Sims, Government Affairs Manager, to our public policy team. She joins the team with veteran staff Vice President of Urban and Government Affairs Kevin O'Hara, Senior Government Affairs Manager Dave Tyahla and Advocacy and Outreach Manager Jayni Rasmussen.
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Meet Kate
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After a third Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY2017 was put into place to fund the government through May 5, a bipartisan omnibus spending agreement was released on Monday that will now fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September.
 
Fortunately, in many areas, the FY2017 omnibus does not necessarily mirror the drastic cuts seen in the Administration's blueprint of a FY2018 budget released in March. We hope this is a sign that appropriators are not inclined to match the Administration's requests to reduce or eliminate federal funding for key programs.
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Given the current political environment, it's critical that we show Congress first-hand how important parks and recreation is to your community. It's easier (and more important) than ever to invite your members of Congress for a visit with NRPA's new, interactive Park Champion Advocacy Toolkit! If you have an exciting event like a park dedication; summer meal program kick-off; Kids to Parks Day, National Trails Day, or Fourth of July event; or Park and Recreation Month celebration, they are perfect opportunities to invite your federal legislators to visit. With the Park Champion Advocacy Toolkit, it only takes a few moments to make a big difference for the future of parks and recreation.
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Check Out the Toolkit
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