PROPOSES CRITICAL INCREASES IN AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS TO REFLECT THE GROWING NEED FOR NUTRITIOUS MEALS AND SERVICES FOR SENIORS
Arlington, VA – December 16, 2019 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander today issued the following statement regarding the introduction of legislation that supports the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) – S. 3057, the Modernization of the Older Americans Act Amendments – in the United States Senate:
Meals on Wheels America commends Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, for introducing the Modernization of the Older Americans Act Amendments. This bipartisan legislation marks a significant step in the Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization process and is the result of months of hard work, policy research, stakeholder meetings, public hearings and negotiations. Today’s action follows unanimous passage of the House’s reauthorization bill in late October, and we are now within reach of securing the final legislation needed to sustain and increase service to the millions of individuals who rely on OAA programs. We urge the Senate to consider and adopt a bipartisan, bicameral OAA reauthorization bill before adjourning for the year.
Since 1965, the OAA has been the primary piece of federal legislation providing community- and home-based social and nutrition services and supports for adults 60 and older, their families and caregivers. In particular, the three nutrition programs authorized under Title III of the Act help keep 2.4 million of our nation’s most vulnerable, isolated and food insecure seniors healthier and more independent in their own homes and out of costly hospitals and other long-term care settings.
The Senate bill, as introduced, incorporates a number of priorities that are important to the national Meals on Wheels network, including increases in authorization of appropriations levels that reflect the growing need for services provided through the Act and are critical to helping restore the service capacity across the country. In addition, the bill recognizes the extraordinary impact and importance of congregate and home-delivered meals on the lives of millions. It takes steps to strengthen these vital services and supports by advancing research and data; attending to the need for culturally appropriate and medically tailored meals; focusing on the negative health consequences of social isolation and malnutrition; and putting forth efforts to capture the unmet need, including waiting lists for nutrition services.
We have been proud to work alongside Senators Collins and Casey throughout this process, as well as their staff and colleagues on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. And, we thank them both for their leadership and for introducing this bill. Having this critical step in the reauthorization process completed, and with only a few days left in the legislative calendar, we urge the Senate to continue negotiations with the House to pass a bipartisan bill that can be signed into law as soon as possible. Doing so will ensure that OAA programs are able to receive the resources needed to support the health, dignity and independence of the 11 million older Americans and their caregivers who depend on them for years to come.
Read Meals on Wheels America's letter of support here.
ABOUT MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICA
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.
Meals on Wheels America
Jenny Young, 571-339-1603