Center for Social Gerontology
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OLDER AMERICANS ACT
This section of TCSG's Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act site is intended to provide regularly updated information and alerts on key activities, events, hearings, votes, etc. related to the 2005-06 reauthorization of the OAA. Check here frequently for updates.
Link to home page on Reauthorization of the OAA; click here. To access the "Recent News About Legal Services & Elder Rights Developments" page, which has daily news updates, click here.
10/17/06: Older Americans Act reauthorization bill is signed by Bush On October 17, 2006, the Older Americans Act reauthorization bill of 2006 was signed into law by Bush. This is a 5-year reauthorization. The U.S. House of Representatives' Education and the Workforce Committee issued a press release describing the highlights of the Older Americans Act reauthorization legislation (H.R. 6197). The press release can be accessed directly by clicking here. For more on the Older Americans Act reauthorization, including a link to H.R. 6197, go to the House site by clicking here.
9/30/06: OAA reauthorization passes House and Senate; Goes to Bush for certain signature On September 30, 2006, the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent passed the Older Americans Act reauthorization bill, H.R. 6197. The House had unanimously passed the bill on September 28th. Since neither the House nor Senate made any amendments to H.R. 6197, there is no need for a conference committee, and, therefore, the bill goes directly to Bush for a certain signature. Previously, the House had passed its version of the OAA, H.R.5293, and the Senate HELP Committee had passed its version, S. 3570. (See analyses below of both bills.) The House and Senate committees then negotiated the differences between the two bills and produced a bill which both the House and Senate agreed upon, H.R. 6197. With passage of H.R. 6197, the OAA has been renewed for another 5 years. To go to the House site where you can access H.R. 6197 and related information, click here. To access a press release from the House Education & the Workforce Committee, click here. To access a press release from Senator Enzi, the chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, click here. Shortly, we will place an analysis of key provisions of the bill on this site, as well as links to related analyses.
7/17/06: Quick analysis of Senate-passed version of OAA reauthorization TCSG's Co-Director Penny Hommel has done a "quick and dirty" analysis of S. 3570, the Senate-passed version of the OAA reauthorization. This analysis examined the bill specifically for changes/implications for legal services and Legal Service Developers. The analysis does not focus exclusively on legal services, but also looks at related sections of the bill. This analysis identifies where changes have or have not been made in the current OAA as relates to legal services and elder rights. By and large, the legal services and Legal Service Development sections have not been changed in S. 3570 from the way they currently are in the OAA, which is also true of the House version, H.R. 5293. The Senate version of the OAA reauthorization, which has passed the HELP Committee has not yet gone to the full Senate. To access the analysis, in pdf format, click here. To access S. 3570, click here to go to Thomas where you can enter the bill number and then access the bill. For a similar analysis of the House version of the OAA reauthorization, see directly below.
7/13/06: Quick analysis of House-passed version of OAA reauthorization TCSG's Co-Director Penny Hommel has done a "quick and dirty" analysis of H.R. 5293, the House-passed version of the OAA reauthorization. This analysis examined the bill specifically for changes/implications for legal services and Legal Service Developers. The analysis does not focus exclusively on legal services, but also looks at related sections of the bill. This analysis identifies where changes have or have not been made in the current OAA as relates to legal services and elder rights. By and large, the legal services and Legal Service Developers sections have not been changed in H.R. 5293 from the way they currently are in the OAA. Shortly, we will also be posting here an analysis of the Senate version of the OAA reauthorization, which has passed the HELP Committee but has not yet gone to the full Senate. To access the analysis, in pdf format, click here. To access H.R. 5293, click here to go to Thomas where you can enter the bill number and then access the bill.
Current House Bill 5293 (Title V) with line-by-line comparison with the current OAA (2000) Title V language Senior Services America has prepared a cut and paste comparison of HR 5293 versus the current OAA language for Title V. To access this document, in pdf format, click here. For more on Title V issues in the reauthorization, go to the section of the Senior Services America site on Title V by clicking here. For additional information on Title V, go to the Easter Seals site on the OAA by clicking here.
6/28/06: Senate HELP Committee unanimously passes their version of OAA reauthorization; Bill moves to Senate floor On June 27th, Senator Mike Enzi, the Chair of the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) introduced the Senate version of the reauthorization of the OAA. The bill is S. 3570 and has bipartisan support. On June 28th, the Senate HELP Committee passed the bill unanimously. It will now go to the full Senate for a vote. S. 3570 is different from the House-passed version (H.R. 5293) in a number of ways, including that the Senate bill retains the title Older Americans Act Amendments whereas the House title is the Senior Independence Act. Both bills provide for a 5-year reauthorization of the OAA. A press release from Senator Enzi briefly describes the key provisions of S. 3570 and can be accessed in pdf format by clicking here. To access S. 3570, click here to go to Thomas where you can enter the bill number and then access the bill.
6/21/06: Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act passes House of Representatives without dissent On June 21st, the U.S. House of Representatives, on a voice vote and without dissent, passed the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, known as the Senior Independence Act of 2006. The bill is H.R. 5293. The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration. The Senate is drafting its own version of the bill, so it is uncertain how the final version will look, or if the Senate will get its version to a vote this session. The Senate HELP Committee is scheduled to mark-up their version of the OAA reauthorization on June 28th. To access a June 21st press release from the House Education & the Workforce Committee, click here. To access a summary of the House bill, click here. To access H.R. 5293, click here to go to Thomas where you can enter the bill number and then access the bill. For more background on the OAA, go to TCSG's OAA Reauthorization web site by clicking here.
4/11/06: Senior Community Service Employment: Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act Title V On March 28th, the Senate Subcommittee on Retirement Security and Aging of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions held a hearing of the above title. Witnesses who testified included: Mason Bishop, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor; John Beverly, III, Administrator, Office of National Programs, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor; Ignacio Salazar, President and CEO, SER -- Jobs for Progress National, Inc.; Kent Kahn, Regional Communications Specialist, Experience Works Ohio; and Tony Sarmiento, Executive Director, Senior Service America, Inc. To access copies of their testimony, click here.
3/9/06: Senate Subcommittee on Retirement, Security, and Aging: Roundtable Hearing on the Older Americans Act on Feb. 14, 2006 The Senate Subcommittee held a roundtable discussion-type hearing on the reauthorization of the OAA on Feb. 14th at which about 13 representatives of various aging group presented statements. Statements were presented by the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, NAAAA, NASUA, NCOA, AARP, Alliance for Retired Americans, National Caucus & Center on Black Aged, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, National Association for Hispanic Elderly, and others. This was the first hearing in 2006 on the OAA. Statements of the witnesses may be accessed by clicking here.
2/7/06: Cuts Proposed in Various Programs Supporting Older and Disabled Persons The budget proposed for Fiscal Year 2007 by the Bush Administration has cuts in a variety of programs serving older persons and disabled persons. The Bush proposal for the Administration on Aging is for a budget in FY'07 of $1.335 billion, versus an FY'06 budget of $1.363 billion and a FY'05 budget of $1.393 billion. In other words, less in actual dollars than in the prior two years and even less if inflation is factored in, to say nothing of the fact that the number of older persons is increasing. The Community Services Block grant program is proposed to be eliminated; a cut of $630 million. The Social Services Block Grant program is proposed to be cut by $500 million. The Preventive Health Block Grant program is proposed for elimination; a cut of $99 million. In the HUD budget proposal for FY'07, the Housing for the Elderly program would be reduced from $741 million in FY'05 and $735 million in FY'06 to $545 million in FY'07. The Housing for Persons with Disabilities would be reduced from $238 million in FY'05 and $237 million in FY'06 to $119 million in FY'07. To access the Department of Health & Human Services proposed FY'07 budget, click here. To access the Department of Housing & Urban Development budget proposal for FY'07 , click here.
2/7/06: Bush's $2.77 Trillion Budget Plan Calls for Medicare Cuts According to a NY Times report: President Bush submitted a $2.77 trillion budget plan to Congress today [Feb. 6th] that calls for cutting Medicare and putting tight limits on most spending not related to national security. Mr. Bush also repeated his call for Congress to make tax cuts passed in 2001 permanent. They are scheduled to expire in 2010. The plan calls for eliminating or making deep cuts in 141 programs for a savings of almost $15 billion, but would provide more money for defense, homeland security, preparations for a possible outbreak of bird flu and promotion of the physical sciences. The plan calls for $65 billion in reductions in projected entitlement spending over the next five years. In what may become the most contentious proposal, the growth of Medicare spending would be cut by $36 billion over the next five years. The proposal covers the 2007 fiscal year, which will begin on Oct. 1. The total of $2.77 trillion in spending called for would be up by 2.3 percent from projected spending of $2.71 trillion this year. The plan did not cover the cost of military operations in Iraq or Afghanistan or the cost of emergency aid in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. ... In the new budget, the Pentagon would get a nearly 7 percent spending increase under the plan. Over all, almost everything within the category known as discretionary non-security spending -- things that don't involve security or entitlement programs, like Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid -- faces cuts or tight constraints. Mr. Bush did not include any sweeping proposals for changes in Social Security after the failure last year of his plan for private accounts. Instead, he called for a commission to study the retirement plan along with Social Security. ... On Sunday, the Senate's Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, criticized the prospect of cuts in Medicare, education and social programs. "After driving the nation into a fiscal mess, the president is asking our seniors, our students and our families to clean it up while the wealthy special interests reap the rewards," Mr. Reid said in a statement. To access the full Times article, click here. To access the full budget proposal, click here.
OAA continues in effect even though it wasn't reauthorized as of Oct. 1, 2005 A number of people have wondered what happened when the OAA expiration date of October 1, 2005 passed without the OAA being reauthorized. The answer is that Congress simply continued the OAA in effect for another fiscal year or until it is reauthorized. Thus, both the OAA and the appropriations for it continue.
6/3/05: House Subcommittee on May 24th hears testimony on OAA Reauthorization The following is from a May 24th press release issued by the subcommittee: Testifying today before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Select Education, witnesses highlighted the importance of services provided to seniors through the Older Americans Act (OAA), but noted that with an aging population, additional reforms may be needed to ensure the quality and effectiveness of federal programs aimed at assisting the elderly. "Today, supporting the needs of older Americans is as important as ever. It is estimated that more than 36 million people in the United States are over the age of 65, making it the fastest growing age group in our country," noted Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), chairman of the Select Education Subcommittee. ... Witnesses before the subcommittee identified changing demographics as one of the most significant challenges to future efforts to assist seniors efficiently and effectively. Testimony was provided by: Michael O'Donnell of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging; Joan Lawrence, director of the Ohio Department of Aging; Jane Metzger of the Meals on Wheels Association of American; and Jesse Leos National Director of the SCSEP Program SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc. in Irving, TX. Included in the testimony of Joan Lawrence was the following statement: "Further, she [the Ohio State Long-Term Care Ombudsman] would submit to this committee the importance of funding for legal services development under Title VII of the Older Americans Act. The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs need adequate funding to respond to increasing emphasis on transformational change in facility-based long-term care. The ombudsman's emphasis on quality of life makes the program a key player in culture change." To access the full press release, click here. For the full testimony of each witness, click here.
5/20/05: OAA Reauthorization list serve Last October at the National Aging and Law Conference, TCSG -- together with representatives from NALSD and NASUA -- conducted a workshop to discuss the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) which is up for renewal this year. At the workshop, there was consensus that The Center for Social Gerontology (TCSG) should create and publicize a list serve devoted just to discussion of OAA reauthorization issues. This will complement our Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act web site. We've now set up the OAA Reauthorization list serve called OAAreauth-talk. This is a private list serve open to members of the aging network and policymakers. Only those who sign up to join the list serve will be able to post notes and receive notes. To be on the list, you have to subscribe (free of course) by sending a note to OAAreauthemail@example.com and in the Subject line write subscribe. It's that easy, but you have to take that one step. So, e-mail your request to join now. Once you're subscribed, and you will get an e-mail telling you that you are, then you can post a note anytime by sending it to OAAreauthfirstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy and use.
5/19/05: Key Congressional Committees We have now placed on the "Reauthorization of the OAA" page of our site the updated listings of the key Senate and House committees with jurisdiction over OAA appropriations and reauthorization matters. To access these listings, click here and scroll down.
5/18/05: Testimony of Assistant Secretary for Aging, Josefina Carbonell, on Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act On May 17th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) held a hearing titled "Planning for an Aging Population: The Administration." The two witnesses who testified were Administration on Aging Assistant Secretary Josefina G. Carbonell and Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Employment and Training Emily DeRocco. They presented the Bush Administration's preliminary ideas on planning for an aging population. Assistant Secretary Carbonell presented the Administration's ideas on the Older Americans Act reauthorization. To access her full remarks, click here. To access the testimony of Assistant Secretary DeRocco, click here.
5/14/05: U.S. Senate HELP Committee to hold hearing on May 17th on "Planning for an Aging Population: The Administration" The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) will be holding a hearing titled "Planning for an Aging Population: The Administration" at 10:00 a.m. EDT on May 17th. The two witnesses scheduled to testify are Administration on Aging Assistant Secretary Josefina G. Carbonell and Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Employment and Training Emily DeRocco. They will present the Bush Administration ideas on planning for an aging population. Whether they will address Older Americans Act reauthorization issues is not known at this time. To access the hearing announcement, and, after the hearing, the testimony, click here.
1/10: Representative Patrick Tiberi to head Subcommittee on Select Education A report in The Hill on January 5th stated that Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio) will chair the Committee on Education and Workforce's subcommittee on Select Education. This is the subcommittee which handles the OAA reauthorization legislation. Rep. Tiberi is from Columbus, Ohio, lists his profession as realtor, and is starting his third term in the House. He previously served on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, but was not on this subcommittee. To access The Hill news report of Tiberi's selection, click here.
12/22: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist Announces New Senate Republican Committee Assignments for Next Session On December 20th, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) named the Republican committee chairmen and membership of the 109th Congress, swapping the assignments of several veteran lawmakers and giving new positions to the incoming senators. The new appointments are subject to the approval of the Senate Republican Conference, which will vote at the beginning of January. It is unlikely that any of Frist's decisions would be overturned. New chairmen will take the helm of several committees because of Republican Conference term limits. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) will replace Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) as the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful posts in the Congress. Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) will head the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee because Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), the departing chairman, has replaced retiring Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.) as the head of the Budget Committee. The HELP Committee handles the OAA reauthorization legislation. For a press release from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announcing all Senate GOP committee assignments, click here.
12/7/04: Incoming Senate Democratic Leader Reid Announces Senate Democratic Committee Assignments, Including HELP Committee On December 6th, incoming Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid announced committee assignments for Democratic members. While committee assignments must still be approved by the full Democratic caucus, they are almost certain to be approved, and they could be ratified as early as this week. Importantly, Senator Ted Kennedy (MA) will remain the ranking Democrat on the HELP Committee which handles the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. Other Senate Democratic members of that committee will be: Dodd (CT), Harkin (IA), Mikulski (MD), Jeffords (VT), Bingaman (NM), Murray (WA), Reed (RI), and Clinton (NY). The new ranking Democrat on the Senate Special Committee on Aging will be Herb Kohl (WI); while this committee does not have legislative authority, it is highly likely to hold some hearings on reauthorization-related issues. To access the full list of Senate Democratic committee assignments, click here.
11/12/04: Background on N4A Info & Alerts on OAA Reauth The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) plays a key role in communicating to Congress and the Administration the priorities of Area Agencies on Aging on a variety of issues, including the reauthorization of the OAA. N4A is now in the process of setting their reauthorization priorities for the 2005 reauthorization. Currently on the N4A web site are a number documents that are somewhat dated but provide some useful background. To go to the overall N4A site, click here. To access a somewhat old Policy Paper on the Older Americans Act, click here. To access a July 30, 2004 Advocacy Alert titled "OAA Reauthorization Is Around the Corner!", click here. For a 2004 policy paper on "Home & Community-Based Services", click here. We will shortly post more info on N4A's priorities for the 2005 reauthorization, as they are available.
11/8/04: Possible Changes in Senate HELP Committee The following is, in part, from a Nov. 8th Kaiser Network Daily Update: Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) is expected to replace Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for the 109th Congress, but the anticipated change "likely will have little impact on the panel, given the similarities" between the two "low-key conservatives," CQ Today reports. While Enzi's positions on most health care issues are "unclear," he has been an "outspoken" advocate for limiting noneconomic damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, and some analysts predict Enzi will make malpractice reform legislation "a bigger priority," CongressDaily reports. Enzi also co-sponsored a reimportation bill authored by Gregg, as well as legislation that would allow confidential reporting of medical errors. In addition, Enzi "will bring a greater emphasis" to the impact of health care law on "rural Americans," according to CQ Today. A former accountant and shoe store owner, Enzi also is "a strong ally of business interests," but he will be "able to work with" ranking Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy (Mass.) "to move legislation," CQ Today reports. Enzi currently chairs the committee's Employment, Safety and Training Subcommittee, where he has fought against efforts to increase regulation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "In terms of health care, we are just waiting to see where he will go," an unnamed GOP lobbyist said, adding, "He hasn't really played a big role in many of the biggest health care issues." Gregg is expected to be named chair of the Budget Committee, according to an unnamed Republican Senate aide. [NOTE: The HELP Committee has jurisdiction in the Senate over the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. Senator Enzi is currently also a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. He is also a former Mayor of Gillette, WY and a former Wyoming State Representative and State Senator.] To access the Kaiser report, click here
10/26/04: Strategy session on OAA Reauthorization at NALC At the strategy session described below, over 60 legal services and elder rights practitioners met and discussed priorities for the reauthorization of the OAA in 2005 related to legal services and elder rights. Participants also discussed strategies and logistical support needed for this effort. One recommendation was that TCSG continue and expand its OAA Reauthorization web site and provide regular updates. This has now been done, and TCSG will regularly update the site. Second, participants asked that a new list serve be developed for persons specifically interested in the OAA reauthorization. TCSG is now working on setting up such a list serve; more soon on this. Third, participants agreed that information sharing was needed, particularly on reauthorization priorities that various groups will be setting in coming months. We agreed that TCSG would post such information on this web site as it happens. Fourth, participants agreed that there was a definite need in the OAA for requirements and funding for full-time Legal Services Developers in each state, and that legal hot lines for older persons should be funded as an essential part of the legal services delivery system in each state, as a complement to Title III-B-funded legal services programs for older persons. Additional information on the discussion held on Oct. 23rd will be posted later.
10/20/04: NALC session on OAA Reauthorization on 10/23 If you will be attending the National Aging & Law Conference, please join us SATURDAY MORNING, OCT. 23, for an important strategy development session. It is called, "OLDER AMERICANS ACT: STRATEGIES FOR ENSURING THE FUTURE OF LEGAL SERVICES AND ELDER RIGHTS." It is one of four "Advocacy in Action" sessions at this yearŐs conference. With reauthorization of the OAA scheduled for 2005, this will provide a valuable opportunity to come together to strategize and develop a plan of "Next Steps" for preserving key legal services / elder rights provisions in the OAA. Particular focus will be on the priority for legal services in Title III-B and on the state legal services development program in Title VII. The OAA session will meet in the James Room of the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 23rd from 8:45 to 12:00 Noon.
Web site updated regularly.