Meals on Wheels America, the largest and oldest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country, supports the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 and urges Members of Congress to do the same.
Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Programs, like Meals on Wheels, still haven’t recovered from the harsh and unnecessary sequestration cuts in FY 2013. Year after year, the gap between the number of seniors struggling with hunger and those receiving nutritious meals through programs such as Meals on Wheels continues to widen and waiting lists for services are mounting in every state. Since 2005, the Meals on Wheels nutrition network that is supported by federal funding though the OAA has served 21.3 million fewer meals to our nation’s most vulnerable seniors. This growing gap is due to declining public funding through the OAA and other federal and state grants; stagnant private funding; rising food and transportation and other increasing operational costs.
Given the magnitude of the senior hunger problem and continued demographic shifts resulting in a rapidly aging population, we must at a minimum halt this continuous decline and avoid any return to sequestration. Passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 would go a long way toward enabling Meals on Wheels programs nationwide to serve the growing number of vulnerable, isolated and hungry seniors. The legislation continues the precedent set by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 by replacing sequestration equally for both defense and nondefense over the next two years and sets the stage for finalizing FY 2016 federal funding levels before the December 11 deadline.
Ensuring that both today’s and tomorrow’s seniors receive the proper nutrition needed to maintain health and improve quality of life is not only any investment in our nation’s fiscal future, but it is also a preventive prescription for significantly reducing Medicare and Medicaid expenditures.
We commend the bipartisan efforts that took place to bring this legislation forward and would urge Congress to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act without delay for the health, safety and wellbeing of our nation’s most vulnerable seniors.
Meals on Wheels America