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In the Senate, a Symbolic Thumbs-Up for Older Americans

Bernie Sanders, a feisty Independent from Vermont who often votes with his Democratic colleagues, scored a modest - if largely symbolic - victory for older Americans as the Senate pulled an all-nighter last Friday to debate and vote on budget amendment s.


Sanders, who chairs the Senate subcommittee that deals with aging-related issues, sponsored an amendment to the budget resolution backing the Older Americans Act that was approved by unanimous consent.

The landmark law, originally enacted in 1965, supports Meals on Wheels and helps provide such other basic necessities such as caregiver support, job training and placement, legal services, and protection from abuse and neglect in nursing homes.

"We must grow and strengthen the programs that serve low-income older Americans," Sanders told his colleagues. "It is the moral thing to do for our aging population, but it also saves money for our country."

The budget mess in Washington will mean across-the-board spending cuts in most programs, and while the amendment won't spare the Older Americans Act from the sequester, it may provide a little bit of wiggle room in how available funds are distributed.

The Older Americans Act hasn't been officially renewed - "reauthorized," in congressional parlance - since it expired in 2011.


Photo: Dwight Burdette via Wikipedia

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