Rep. Wild’s Bipartisan Bill to Reauthorize the Older Americans Act Passes House
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Susan Wild’s (PA-07) bill, H.R. 4334, the Dignity in Aging Act, unanimously passed the House of Representatives. This bipartisan proposal reauthorizes the Older Americans Act (OAA) and increases funding for vital programs that help seniors live independently and with dignity. The bill included a provision that added “screening for suicide risk” to the definition of “disease prevention and health promotion services,” a provision that Wild championed and unanimously passed the House Committee on Education and Labor last month.
The OAA, originally passed in 1965, is the primary legislation that covers social and nutrition services for older Americans and their caregivers. The Dignity in Aging Act responds to the challenges facing a growing generation of aging Americans by providing a 35 percent total increase in program funding for OAA over five years.
“Far too many older Americans across our country do not feel supported, heard, or seen, and this comprehensive reauthorization will help to provide them the support they deserve,” Wild said. “I am particularly proud that this bill updates the Older Americans Act by putting a greater focus on countering social isolation – empowering local organizations to develop solutions and incorporating social isolation into mental health and supportive services that seniors receive. This legislation reflects a national priority, transcending differences of party and politics, and I urge Senate Majority Leader McConnell to pass this bipartisan legislation swiftly in the Senate.”
The Dignity in Aging Act is cosponsored by Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), Susie Lee (D-NV-03), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01), James Comer (R-KY-01), and Dusty Johnson (R-SD-at-Large).
The Dignity in Aging Act responds to the challenges facing a growing generation of aging Americans. The bill:
- Authorizes a 7 percent funding increase for OAA programs in the first year, then annual 6 percent increases in the following years;
- Establishes a National Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Center for the Aging Network in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of HHS;
- Creates an initiative to coordinate federal resources to promote the independence and safety of adults living at home as they age;
- Provides more tailored support to family caregivers who play a vital role in helping again Americans maintain their independence; and
- Puts a stronger focus on addressing social isolation among seniors by empowering local organizations to test local solutions.