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Bonamici Applauds House Update to Older Americans Act

March 21, 2016
Press Release

Reauthorization of OAA Supports Social Services to Help Seniors Live Independently

WASHINGTON, DC [03/21/16] – Today, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) took a lead role in helping to pass the bipartisan reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) in the House of Representatives. For more than 50 years, OAA programs have delivered nutritional and social services to millions of seniors, but the last authorization of the bill expired in 2011. You can watch video of Congresswoman Bonamici speaking about OAA here.

The reauthorization passed by the House today extends OAA programs for the next three years and increases investments in these programs. The legislation also strengthens protections against elder abuse, improves nutrition services, and updates the Family Caregiver Support Program. The legislation now heads back to the Senate before going to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Every day in our country, about 10,000 people turn 65, and as the population of older adults continues to grow we have a responsibility as policymakers to reevaluate and bolster the programs that keep seniors healthy, active, and engaged in their communities,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said in a speech on the House floor. “Investments for currently-funded Older Americans Act programs are overdue and will help meet the growing demand placed on these programs and services. Increasing investments in programs like Meals on Wheels—which serve thousands of seniors, many of whom are homebound or low-income—will allow more older adults to stay in their homes, where they can remain connected to their communities and avoid costlier long-term care.”

Bonamici continued, “Significantly, this legislation provides tools to curb both financial and physical elder abuse by promoting proven strategies for responding to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. According to the Elder Justice Coalition, there are more than six million victims of elder abuse every year—roughly one out of every ten people over age 60. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, victims of elder financial abuse lose an estimated $2.9 billion a year; and too often they lose their entire life savings. So I am pleased that this legislation continues to address the problem of elder abuse and takes steps to make sure older adults are not robbed of their resources or denied the dignity they deserve.”

Congresswoman Bonamici is a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which has jurisdiction over the legislation, and she managed floor debate of the bill.