Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Reply From Senator John McCain Concerning Meals On Wheels

I am not sure who sent this, as I hear that Senator McCain doesn't do his own email, although I appreciate the response, no matter how long it took. It tells me that SOMEONE in his office actually read the content of my concern and correspondence with him and took the time to write an explanation of what was going on so far. I had sent a "contact form" email to his office when I heard that the "Meals On Wheels" program and other programs, that many seniors depend on, was being considered for budget cuts or suspension. 
So, in complete form, here is his response to me with my name and address edited out.

Senator John McCain

3:05 PM (2 hours ago)
to me
March 11, 2015
Phoenix, AZ My Zipcode
Dear Mr. My Last Name

          Thank you for contacting me regarding your thoughts on the Older Americans Act (OAA).  I appreciate knowing your views on this issue. 
          The OAA was created in 1965 and defines a system of support that is of utmost importance to the dignity and self-sufficiency of our senior populations.  Some of the services are meals on wheels, adult day care to help people stay at home longer and out of nursing homes, transportation, employment for low income seniors, advocacy through the ombudsman, protection from abuse, research on issues significant in the field of aging, and pension/benefit counseling programs.  For Native Americans, it is the cornerstone of programs for their elderly and the only federal legislation that allows them to directly plan for the needs of their elderly based on their culture and traditions.
          Congress has reauthorized and amended the OAA numerous times since it was first enacted in 1965.  The last OAA reauthorization occurred in 2006, which funded the program through 2011.  While funding for most OAA programs, including the senior nutrition programs, expired in September 2011, Congress has continued to fund OAA services and programs through temporary bills. Most recently, OAA received $1.88 billion in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 83), which was signed into law by the President in December 2014.
          Legislation was again introduced this year that would reauthorize the OAA through 2018.   S. 192, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015, was introduced on January 20, 2015 and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.  Although I do not serve on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, it is increasingly clear to me that we must take action to see that the OAA is reauthorized.  
          I strongly believe the federal government has an obligation to assist those most in need and we must not abdicate that responsibility.  The OAA is a promise to our seniors that they can enter the last years of their lives with confidence that they will have a safe place, continuing independence, and a way to live and not just survive.
          Thank you for taking the time to share your views with me regarding this very important issue.  Please feel free to contact me on this or any other matter of concern.


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