Today, President Barack Obama proclaimed May 2014 as Older Americans Month and so it seems timely to take a look at where reauthorization of the Older Americans Act of 1965 stands. Although there isn’t visible progress on proposed legislation on the hill these days, it is encouraging to see certain policymakers take up the cause for Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. Last year, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S.1562) was introduced in the Senate to address the fact that authorization ended in 2011 and critical funding for the Act’s programs are in jeopardy.
On February 28th of this year, H.R. 4122 was introduced in the House of Representatives as a bill “to reauthorize the Older Americans Act of 1965, and for other purposes.” The bill was introduced by Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) with Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA). What makes this bill unique is that it goes further than simply reauthorizing the Older American Act by including other provisions to protect the health and well-being of older adults.
According to Peter Notarstefano at Leading Age, some of these provisions include:
– Creation of Federal Database to address Elder Abuse and Neglect
– New standards for screening and assessment at OAA Nutrition Programs
– Plans to modernize community senior centers
– Increased service availability for person-centered transportation
– Improved resource access for LGBT Older Adults
In addition to H.R. 4122, a bill to simply reauthorize the Older Americans Act (H.R. 3850), was introduced on January 10, 2014 by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and cosponsors, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).