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Senate Unanimously Approves Older Americans Act Reauthorization!

March 3, 2020

Senators today capped off a year-long advocacy effort to reauthorize the federal Older Americans Act (OAA) by unanimously approving the bipartisan, bicameral bill, the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020, H.R. 4334, to authorize funding for and operation of vital OAA programs through 2024!
 
“n4a is thrilled that the Senate has passed the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020,” said n4a CEO Sandy Markwood in a statement“This bill is the result of months of negotiations among Senate and House leadership, as well as aging policy advocates and n4a members here in Washington and around the country.”
 
Because the House and Senate must pass identical pieces of legislation, H.R. 4334 now heads back across Capitol Hill where we are hopeful that Representatives will take up the measure swiftly.
 
While a modest piece of legislation—as most bipartisan bills are—the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 contains many of n4a’s OAA reauthorization priorities. n4a also endorsed the measure last month and led an effort securing support for the bill from 120 other national organizations!
 
What’s in H.R. 4334?
 
For full details on what is in the bill and the implications for n4a members, see n4a’s member-only resource, Analysis of Key Provisions

Need something shorter? Here is our short list of key provisions promoted by n4a and included in the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020:

  • Reauthorizing the OAA for five years through FY 2024
  • Increasing authorized funding levels: a seven percent increase is recommended for the first year, with six percent increases in each subsequent year through FY 2024, totaling a 35 percent increase over five years
  • Language clarifying that AAAs can, outside of the OAA, engage in private pay, integrated care and other arrangements to expand services
  • Removing the Title III E funding cap on grandfamilies and older relative caregivers
  • Authorizing an HCBS grant demonstration program for Title VI Native American aging programs to enhance the capacity of Title VI programs to support wrap-around supportive services to Native American elders in tribal country. The bill also authorizes $500k in additional annual funding for Title VI programs
  • Establishing a research, demonstration and evaluation center for the Aging Network to improve assessment and promote advancement of the relationship between OAA programs and services and health outcomes
  • Encouraging states to work with AAAs to address potential administrative barriers to transferring funds between nutrition programs to best meet local needs

 
Next Steps
 
While we don’t anticipate major hurdles to House approval, it’s important for aging advocates to connect with lawmakers from their communities about the importance of supporting Older Americans Act reauthorization. It’s also a fantastic way to engage your local grassroots—they drive positive calls and emails to the House and then can join us in celebrating its passage!
 
Use n4a’s Advocacy Alert for ideas to engage your grassroots and community stakeholders and we encourage you to use the tools and templates provided in n4a’s OAA Reauthorization Toolkit to assist your efforts!
 
OAA reauthorization is almost to the finish line, but it will take all voices weighing in to get it done soon!
 
And, it’s not too late to register for the upcoming n4a Aging Policy Briefing & Capitol Hill Day, March 17-18 in Washington, DC, to stay fully up-to-date on the latest news on OAA reauthorization, implementation, funding and many other critical aging and health care policy updates!

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This Legislative Update is an n4a membership benefit. For more information about these and other federal aging policy issues, please contact n4a’s policy team: Amy Gotwals and Autumn Campbell at policy@n4a.org, 202.872.0888.

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