Making Federal Dollars Count for Baby Boomers

As Chairman of the House Select Education Subcommittee, I recently convened a field hearing in Westerville, Ohio so fellow lawmakers could learn first hand about the local impact of programs for senior citizens authorized under the Older Americans Act. This law is up for renewal, and my subcommittee has jurisdiction over it.

The Older Americans Act is the 1965 federal law governing the organization and delivery of a wide assortment of social services for older Americans.



Most seniors may not realize that the programs they use almost every day, like Meals on Wheels and other senior nutrition programs, senior employment services and independent living assistance are authorized under this law.

As most of us know, the first members of the Baby Boom Generation are turning 60 this year and as they do, the number of American seniors will swell. Approximately 36 million Americans are 65 years old or older today. By 2050, the Census Bureau expects there will be nearly 90 million.

Our panel took what we learned in Westerville and from other field hearings back to Washington to begin the process of updating and improving the Older Americans Act. I have worked with the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, Ruben Hinojosa of Texas, to fashion a bipartisan plan to respond to the needs of this growing segment of our population. Ruben and I work well together, and I hope we can continue to do so as the bill we've written moves through the legislative process.

That measure, the Seniors Independence Act, will make the most of the federal investment in programs to support older Americans. Our goal is to modernize programs and services, promote home and community-based support to help older individuals avoid institutional care, improve the quality of life for aging Americans, and continue to provide the assistance millions of aging Americans rely on each day.

I look forward to ensuring that the federal government makes the most out of taxpayers' investment in the programs authorized by the Older Americans Act and am proud to showcase the hard work being done in Westerville and throughout Central Ohio to serve the needs of our area's seniors.

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