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Congress Reauthorizes Older Americans Act

The Senate on October 26, 2000, passed legislation (H.R. 782) reauthorizing the Older Americans Act by a vote of 94-0. The House passed the bill on October 25 by a vote of 405-2. The bill reauthorizes the Meals on Wheels program for five years, as well as an assortment of other programs serving seniors. The bill's fate had been in question for several months because of differences between Democrats and Republicans over the allocation of millions of dollars in job training funds. Under existing law, about 78 percent of the funds had been allocated to a number of seniors organizations like the AARP and the National Council of Senior Citizens, which Republicans viewed as too closely aligned with Democrats. The remaining 22 percent had gone to the states. Under the final bill a compromise was struck where pre-existing funding levels would be maintained, but 75 percent of the next $35 million would be distributed to states, with remaining additional money evenly divided between states and the groups. The bill now goes to the president, who is expected to sign it into law.

 

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