Arlington, VA, February 9, 2018 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander issued the following statement in response to passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018:
Meals on Wheels America applauds Congress for coming together after months of negotiations to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. This legislation eliminates the threat of sequestration for the next two years and raises the budget caps that continue to squeeze so many vital federal programs and have led to fewer meals and at-risk seniors served.
With the removal of these budget restrictions and a continuing resolution in place through March 23, House and Senate Appropriators will now be able to focus their full attention on crafting a long overdue omnibus spending bill for our current fiscal year – one with topline funding levels based on bipartisan consensus. The increased funding allocations across nondefense discretionary programs will put an end to the short-term budget uncertainty that has placed millions of our nation’s vulnerable seniors and their caregivers who rely on Meals on Wheels in an unnecessary state of limbo for far too long.
At a time when 1 in 4 local Meals on Wheels programs already has a waiting list of seniors in need of meals, it is time to invest further in senior nutrition services to prevent those lists from growing any longer. Together, we can ensure that the rapidly growing senior population receives the proper nutrition needed to maintain health and improve quality of life while concurrently acting with our nation’s best fiscal interests in mind. Our country can either invest in senior nutrition now, or face the consequences of significantly greater healthcare spending later.
As such, we urge Congress to continue its bipartisan effort and fund Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Programs at a minimum total level of $874.6 million and maintain existing levels for the Social Services, Community Development and Community Services Block Grants in any final FY 2018 appropriations bill. Millions of seniors nationwide are counting on it.
Committing further to preventive, cost-effective programs like Meals on Wheels collectively benefits seniors, taxpayers and our nation as a whole, and we’re eager to continue working with lawmakers to see this investment come to fruition.
Jenny Bertolette Young
Meals on Wheels America