On March 21, 2016, the House passed S. 192, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016, by unanimous voice vote. The legislation amends the bill passed by the Senate on July 16, 2015.
Learn more about the Senate-passed bill and activity throughout 2015.
NCOA has endorsed the legislation, and commended the House upon its passage. A total of 58 national organizations, including NCOA, signed on to a joint letter to the House Education and the Workforce Committee leadership expressing support.
A bipartisan group of 65 Representatives wrote to House Education and the Workforce Committee leaders urging them to take action on OAA reauthorization.
Review the summary of the amended bill from the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
The Senate unanimously approved the House amendments on April 7, and the President signed it into law on April 19, 2016.
The House version of S. 192 continues to reflects a number of NCOA’s OAA reauthorization priorities, including provisions that:
- Create new support for modernizing multipurpose senior centers
- Highlight the importance of addressing economic needs
- Require that health promotion and disease prevention initiatives be evidence-based
- Promote chronic disease self-management and falls prevention
NCOA also supports the bill’s stronger elder justice and legal services provisions, needed clarity for caregiver support and Aging & Disability Resource Centers, and new opportunities for intergenerational shared sites. The bill also retains current language that does not place any limits on how much Older Americans Act appropriations can grow.
The legislation takes the same modest approach to OAA changes as with the 2013 bipartisan bill by scaling back language that appeared in earlier reauthorization measures.
For example, rather than authorizing a new stand-alone demonstration program to identify model senior center modernization approaches and provide training and technical assistance to help other centers adopt them, the bill simply gives the Assistant Secretary for Aging the authority to accomplish this with existing resources.
Also, instead of making “economic security” a goal of the OAA, the language clarifies that the Administration’s duties include supporting research and implementation of programs that address the economic needs of older adults and creating and disseminating materials related to the economic welfare of seniors.
Changes to Note
The House bill adds language in two areas:
- Specific authorization levels for each year throughout the three-year reauthorization.
- Updating Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) to reflect the recently-enacted workforce development reauthorization and improving the grant process.