by Heather Foster, MPH
The Congressional Health Centers Caucus was established in the U.S. House of Representatives over a decade ago as a means for Members of Congress to identify themselves as health center supporters, educate their colleagues on the importance of health centers, share information on health center priorities, and champion the Health Centers program.
From its inception, the caucus was bipartisan. Last year, freshman Representative Tim Griffin (R- AR) announced that he would step up to fill a co-chair vacancy in the caucus—joining co-chairs Mike Capuano (D-MA), Kay Granger (R-TX), and Danny Davis (D-IL),.
Joining the Caucus is a great way for Members of Congress to stay apprised of any legislative efforts that could impact the health centers in their district. For health center advocates, increasing the number of Community Health Center Caucus members is a key way to demonstrate the broad bipartisan support for health centers in the House. The Caucus also serves as an educational tool by disseminating pertinent information to interested Members of Congress and their staffs.
This month is a great time to ask your Representative to join the Caucus as the co-chairs are currently seeking new Members! A list of the current Community Health Center Caucus membership can be found here and a Dear Colleague letter asking Members to join the Caucus can be found here.
I appreciate Heather Foster’s thoughtful reminder that we actually have a Congressional Community Health Center Caucus, and its importance to the future of health centers’ support on Capitol Hill. What anguishes me is that – while we have managed to secure more than 400 House votes for our Section 330 reauthorization, and we regularly secure more than 200 Member signatures on the annual ‘Dear Colleague’ letters in support of health center funding – there are currently fewer than 100 Members of the CHC Caucus. What gives? Is it really that hard to get your Member signed up? I find that highly doubtful – I think the real reason is that no one is really trying. Can’t we do better, team?
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