Bonamici Introduces Bipartisan Reauthorization of Older Americans Act
WASHINGTON, DC [05/17/19] – This week Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Chair of the Education & Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, introduced the Dignity in Aging Act. This bipartisan proposal will reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA) and increase funding for vital programs that help aging Americans live independently and with dignity.
“Too many Americans struggle to meet basic needs and access crucial services as they age,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. "The Dignity in Aging Act, an update of the Older Americans Act, will result in better outcomes for seniors and strengthen our communities. Though reaching a compromise can be challenging, I’m proud of the work we did to achieve a bipartisan agreement. I am committed to getting the Dignity in Aging Act signed into law, as well as continuing to do all I can to champion efforts that will build on this legislation and make sure every senior has access to the services they need, regardless of who they are or where they live.”
Bonamici is leading the bipartisan effort to update and reauthorize OAA, which currently serves roughly 11 million older Americans through social services and community-based programs like Meals on Wheels. In May, the Congresswoman chaired a Civil Rights and Human Services subcommittee hearing on reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA). The hearing included a witness from Oregon: Lee Girard, Director of the Multnomah County Aging, Disability & Veterans Services Division (ADVSD).
The Dignity in Aging Act, the bill to reauthorize and update OAA programs, will:
- Authorize an inflation-adjusted 7 percent increase in funding for OAA programs in the first year, then annual 6 percent increases in the following years. This results in more than a 35 percent total increase in program funding over the five-year reauthorization period;
- Require outreach to identify individuals eligible for assistance under the OAA, with an emphasis on marginalized populations;
- Provide more tailored support to family caregivers, who play a vital role in helping aging Americans maintain their independence; and
- Put a stronger focus on addressing social isolation among seniors by empowering local organizations to test local solutions.
The Dignity in Aging Act fact sheet is available here.
The Dignity in Aging Act section-by-section is available here.
The Dignity in Aging Act bill text is available here.
The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Susie Lee (NV-03), James Comer (KY-01), Susan Wild (PA-07) and Dusty Johnson (SD-at-Large).
The Older Americans Act (OAA), originally passed in 1965, is the primary legislation that covers social and nutrition services for older Americans and their caregivers. Bonamici played a lead role in the last reauthorization of OAA, which took place in 2016.