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Oregon Democrat sponsored and played key role in renewal of 1965 Older Americans Act.

An extension of the federal law that supports community services to seniors, such as Meals on Wheels, has been signed by President Donald Trump.

The law renews the Older Americans Act, first passed in 1965, that benefits 11 million people.

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici sponsored and steered the legislation (HR 4334) to passage. She leads the civil rights and human services subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee, which took the lead.

"Strengthening programs that benefit our seniors has long been one of my top priorities, and I'm glad this significant update I led to the Older Americans Act is now law," the Oregon Democrat said in a statement.

"It will provide a strong foundation to help meet the needs of seniors during this pandemic and beyond. I'm grateful that this updated bipartisan law will support Meals on Wheels, fight elder abuse, and help to address social isolation. At this time in our country, it's especially important that we care for those who cared for us."

The bill passed the House five months ago and the Senate on March 3. It provides for a 7% increase in funding for programs in the first year, and 6% increases in each of the next four years ending in fall 2024.

Among the programs, in addition to Meals on Wheels: Caregivers for older people; informational services, such as pension counseling; disease prevention and health promotion services; community and workforce training for elder care, and abuse and neglect prevention services.

Other provisions of the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020:

• Establishes a National Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Center for the Aging Network in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department.

• Calls for a study on the coordination of 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 aging Americans maintain their independence.

• Puts a stronger focus on addressing social isolation among seniors by empowering local organizations to test local solutions.

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For a link to a text of the final bill, click:

https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr4334/BILLS-116hr4334eas.pdf


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