S 1536 - - 10/06/2000

October 6, 2000

S.1536 - Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000
(Sen. DeWine (R) Ohio and 47 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 1536, as reported by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which would reauthorize and modernize the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965. The Administration is particularly pleased that the legislation includes the Administration's proposal to establish a National Family Caregiver Support Program, a key Administration priority that would help hundreds of thousands of family members who are struggling to care for their older loved ones who are ill or who have disabilities.

The Administration is also pleased that the legislation incorporates the salient features of the Administration's proposal for reauthorizing and enhancing the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). SCSEP provides part-time community service employment to low-income individuals age 55 and older, and assists them in obtaining unsubsidized employment. The bill would maintain the unique and complementary structure of SCSEP under which national nonprofit organizations as well as States receive grants to operate the program, while also strengthening SCSEP by establishing an enhanced performance accountability system, reinforcing linkages between SCSEP and the broader workforce investment system established under the Workforce Investment Act, improving the planning process to promote an equitable distribution of projects within States, and incorporating uniform fiscal accountability provisions.

In addition, the Administration supports the inclusion of many other provisions in S. 1536 that would strengthen and improve OAA services provided to America's older persons, including the provisions to protect the targeting of services to older individuals with greatest economic and social need, acknowledge culturally appropriate services for Native Americans, maintain the priority for legal services, and allow cost-sharing where appropriate. The Administration applauds Congress' efforts to prepare the aging population for the challenges of the 21st century by providing new flexibility throughout the Act and authorizing a White House Conference on Aging in 2005.

The Administration appreciates the bipartisan cooperation that has characterized the recent discussions of the Older Americans Act and looks forward to working with the Congress to achieve final enactment of this legislation in the weeks ahead.