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Bonamici & Hinojosa Introduce New Bill to Improve the Older Americans Act

February 28, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) today introduced legislation to better protect the country’s seniors. The bill reauthorizes the Older Americans Act (OAA) – which expired in 2011 – and includes new provisions that offer additional support to seniors.  

“This bill will ensure that older Americans are able to live their lives with the dignity they deserve,” Rep. Bonamici said. “It strengthens the program’s provisions and improves the services that seniors receive. Our country’s seniors are living longer, and this bill will help them stay in their homes and live fulfilling, rewarding lives.”

The OAA has funded nutritional and social services for seniors for nearly 50 years. The new bill, which extends funding through 2018, includes stronger protections against elder abuse, expanded legal services, improvements to the nutritional program, outreach to low-income and minority populations, improvements to home caregiver programs, and new provisions for LGBT seniors.

“I am very proud to join Congresswoman Bonamici in introducing the Older Americans Act Reauthorization (OAA) because it offers broader and more detailed assistance programs for one of our most vulnerable groups in America, our senior citizens,” Rep. Hinojosa said. “The OAA is designed to help prevent elder abuse by establishing a database that can identify and track people who have committed elder abuse crimes and it will serve to keep them out of facilities where seniors are being cared for. This will also require all OAA nutrition programs to provide nutrition screening, education, assessment, and counseling to ensure our seniors are receiving proper nutrition.  I know that in my district, and in other parts of the United States, it is very important to make certain that we provide outreach services by trained professionals who will understand the local culture and speak the local languages, especially to low-income minorities and our seniors who live in rural areas.”

Ranking Democratic member on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Congressman George Miller (D-CA) is an original cosponsor of the bill. He praised the legislation and its protections for low-income and LGBT seniors.

“The Older Americans Act reauthorization that Representatives Hinojosa and Bonamici introduced today recognizes our responsibility to provide seniors with a high quality of life and maintain the services they need to age with dignity,” Ranking Member Miller said. “Committee Democrats are committed to protecting and strengthening programs that serve our nation’s older adults, which includes focusing on issues surrounding both LGBT elders and cultural and linguistic competence. By addressing those timely issues, we can ensure that this reauthorization helps align the funding provided with the shifting demographic needs of America’s aging population.”

Rep. Hinojosa is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, which has jurisdiction over this legislation. Rep. Bonamici is also a member of the subcommittee.