Arlington, VA, March 21, 2016 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. House of Representatives passing of S.192, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act.
Since March 22, 1972, the Older Americans Act (OAA) has supported the nutrition services and infrastructure that enables millions of seniors to grow older in their own communities and live with the independence and dignity they deserve. On the eve of the 44th anniversary of this vital inclusion, we celebrate the three nutrition programs authorized by the OAA – Congregate, Home-Delivered and Nutrition Services Incentive Program –representing the only federal legislation that is specifically designed and tailored to meet the nutritional and social needs of our nation’s most vulnerable seniors.
Meals on Wheels America strongly supports S.192, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act. I commend Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) for their leadership, as well as Members of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and their staffs for carefully crafting this bipartisan legislation that has gone unauthorized since 2011. I would also like to thank the 60+ bipartisan Members of Congress who recently signed a letter urging the reauthorization process forward.
The OAA Nutrition Programs are proven to improve health, well-being and quality of life for seniors while significantly lessening the burden on our nation’s healthcare system and saving taxpayers billions of dollars annually. Frankly, the need for nutritious meals through these programs has never been at a more critical level. Today, 9.6 million seniors – or one in six – may not know from where their next meal will come. At the same time, the Meals on Wheels network as a whole is serving 21 million fewer meals annually to seniors than we were a decade ago due to declining federal and state grants, stagnant private funding and rising food and transportation costs. These are just a few of the many reasons why it is essential that this vital bill passes the legislative finish line and is signed into law quickly.
Given that OAA resources remain insufficient to meet the growing need and escalating demand, Meals on Wheels America also looks forward to working with Congress through the appropriations process to increase investments so that, at a minimum, we stave off the continued decline in the number of individuals and meals served.
The bipartisan bill passed by a voice vote and will now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration. If enacted, S.192 would reauthorize OAA programs through Fiscal Year 2019 and make improvements to protect seniors. You can find the Meals on Wheels America letter of support here, a summary of the Senate legislation here and House amendment here.
Meals on Wheels America