Congress Passes Seniors Bill

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–April 7, 2016 – The Senate today unanimously approved and sent to President Barack Obama a bill to support and expand social and nutrition services for seniors. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a leader in the effort to reauthorize and strengthen the Older Americans Act, applauded the bill’s passage.

“A nation is judged by how it cares for its most vulnerable,” Sanders said. “The shocking truth is that millions of seniors are choosing each day whether to pay their rent, put food on the table or buy the medicine they need. Seniors in Vermont and around the country deserve to live with dignity and with a sense of security. The Older Americans Act helps to provide that.”

The Older Americans Act, first passed in 1965, has been in need of reauthorization since 2011. The bill provides much-needed funding for caregiver support, transportation, job training, protection from abuse and financial exploitation and nutrition programs like Meals on Wheels.

In addition to extending the Act’s core programs, new provisions in the bill strengthen elder abuse protections, direct the administration to put forward guidelines for caring for Holocaust survivors, support oral health among seniors and promote the modernization of senior centers.

The number of Americans age 60 and over will grow from about 65 million today to 92 million by 2030, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections. “This bill includes a much-needed 7 percent increase in funding over the next three years. I sincerely hope that Congress is able to fully fund these critical programs and meet or exceed these funding targets,” Sanders added.

“Providing older Americans with the resources they need to stay healthy and at home is not only the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense. Investing in Meals on Wheels and other Older Americans Act programs will help keep seniors healthy and out of expensive hospitals and nursing homes,” Sanders said.