Dear Colleague Text (Circulated from the office of Senator Jeff Merkley (d-OR):


The Honorable Roy Blunt                                                      The Honorable Patty Murray

Chairman                                                                                 Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and                                    Subcommittee on Labor, Health and

Human Services, and Education                                           Human Services, and Education

Committee on Appropriations                                               Committee on Appropriations

United States Senate                                                             United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510                                                         Washington, D.C. 20510


Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray:

We respectfully request that you support level funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program in the Fiscal Year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill.

As you know, the CSBG program is the core funding stream that supports the more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) nationwide. For more than thirty years, CSBG funds have allowed CAAs flexibility to build partnerships and invest in creating opportunities suited to local conditions and the unique needs of low-income citizens. CSBG funds are used to coordinate a broad range of services for low-wage workers, retirees, and their families. Moreover, CSBG funds assist CAAs in leveraging their non-federal funding sources; for every $1 of federal CSBG funding, CAAs are able to leverage almost $8 from state, local, and private sources.

The need for CSBG funds remains great. Last year CAAs served nearly 16 million low-income individuals in 7 million families. CAAs provide a critical “first stop” for those in need and help navigate our constituents to resources in the broader community, including: emergency food assistance, job training, housing counseling and health care services. In addition, CAAs serve our homeless veterans and support citizens with disabilities by connecting them to services that help them to maintain their independence.

We believe it is critical to invest our resources in strengthening our local communities and laying the foundations for long-term growth and success. The services funded by the Community Services Block Grant program will help provide economic independence to our most vulnerable citizens. For these reasons, we thank you for your continued support of this program and urge you to provide level funding for the CSBG program in the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bill.




How You can help:

The deadline for collecting signatures is Monday, May 15Please contact your senator's D.C. office and ask them to sign on to the Merkley CSBG Dear Colleague letter. 




If your senator(s) would like to sign on or have questions, put them in contact with Meredith Booker ( at Senator Merkley's office.

For your reference, the FY17 signers were: Senators Leahy, Gillibrand, Hirono, Markey, Stabenow, Whitehouse, Schatz, Cardin, Klobuchar, Baldwin, Feinstein, Schumer, King, Warren, Blumenthal, and Wyden



A Dear Colleague is a letter circulated (passed around) by senators, directed towards the Appropriations Committee recommending a certain funding level for a certain program. In this case, Senator Merkley is circulating a letter in the Senate that will be sent to the Labor-HHS Appropriations subcommittee recommending CSBG funding not be cut in the upcoming year.


Senators SIGNED ON THROUGH 5/15/2017

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)