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Leadership & Results Part 8: Improving Support Services for Older Americans

Under the leadership of Chairman John Kline (R-MN), the House Committee on Education and the Workforce has been working hard on behalf of students, small business owners, teachers, and working families. And by improving education, retirement, job training, and more, the committee has delivered impressive results. This is the eighth—and last—in a series of releases that look back at some important reforms the committee has advanced under Chairman Kline’s leadership—reforms that will help more Americans pursue a lifetime of success and prosperity.

Witnesses discuss the importance of the Older Americans Act at a hearing in February 2014.

More than 50 years ago, Congress took action that would create an important resource for the country’s seniors and their caregivers. It was 1965 when policymakers enacted the Older Americans Act, and for decades, the law has helped Americans enjoy their independence and stay active in their communities. But a lot can happen in 50 years.

While Congress took steps over the years to improve senior services, those reforms were unable to keep up with America’s rapidly changing senior population. The law needed to be updated. Instead, inaction allowed it to expire in 2011.

Still, members of the Committee on Education and the Workforce understood the important responsibility they had to take care of the country’s most vulnerable seniors. Under Chairman Kline’s leadership, they continued working to find a path forward, and at the beginning of 2015, that path began to take shape.

Through bipartisan, bicameral work, the House passed a bill to strengthen support services for seniors by:

  • Streamlining and improving federal programs;

  • Delivering state and local leaders greater flexibility to meet the needs of their seniors;

  • Providing better protections for vulnerable seniors to prevent abuse and neglect; and

  • Improving employment and community service opportunities.

These, and other positive reforms, continue the vital support first established by the Older Americans Act and make important improvements to ensure the law provides the kind of help American seniors need.

In the words of Chairman Kline when the House passed the bill in March 2016:

Helping our country’s seniors enjoy their independence and stay healthy and active as they age is an important commitment we all share. This bill ensures we’re not only honoring that commitment, but that we’re honoring it well.

From helping every child receive an excellent education and empowering students to protecting the rights of workers and fighting for retirees, the Committee on Education and the Workforce has continued to work tirelessly to honor its commitment to the American people and honor it well.

To read other releases in the Leadership & Results series, click here.

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