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July 01, 2015

Senate approves Older Americans Act reauthorization bill

As the Older Americans Act of 1965 (OAA) marked its 50th anniversary, the Senate unanimously passed ABA-supported legislation July 17 to reauthorize the act and strengthen its provisions.

The bipartisan bill, S. 192, would continue and enhance OAA efforts in the following areas:

•      nutrition programs, including Meals on Wheels;

• home and community-based services, including preventive health services and transportation assistance;

• information, referral counseling and respite care for family caregivers;

• elder abuse prevention and detection; and

• part-time community service employment and training.

“The legislation reflects more than three years of bipartisan work reflected in a balanced, pragmatic approach to helping older Americans live longer with independence and dignity in their homes and communities,” the ABA said in a statement issued following the Senate’s action. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.); Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

The ABA, which has been a strong advocate for the nation’s seniors for the past 30 years, said in letter earlier this year to the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee that OAA reauthorization is an important opportunity to “reaffirm and refine our country’s commitment to a safe, secure and dignified life for all older Americans.” The association urges the House to pass reauthorization legislation quickly.

No OAA reauthorization legislation has been introduced in the House this Congress. S. 192 has been referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee for consideration.

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