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Baldwin Joins Senate Effort to Support Seniors

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has joined a Senate effort to call for a significant increase in funds to support expanded access to meals, transportation, family caregiver support and other programs for seniors funded by the Older Americans Act.

The group of 33 senators, led by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), wants a 12 percent increase in support for senior programs and are advocating for the much-needed investment in next year’s budget.

“The demand for these programs is great and in many areas of the country vulnerable seniors are on waiting lists for services that they desperately need,” the senators wrote in a letter to the senate appropriations members, who later this year will set funding levels for senior programs. 

Baldwin and the senators ask for an increase of $225 million in additional spending for the senior programs and note in the letter that spending on these programs has not kept pace with inflation nor has funding kept pace with a rising number of seniors. More than 65 million Americans are over the age of 60 with another 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day. One in five seniors live on an average of $7,600 a year.

“OAA is a major vehicle for the delivery of social and nutrition programs for 11 million older Americans,” they wrote, noting that support for Meals On Wheels, caregiver support, elder rights protection, and community service and employment programs are desperately needed.

In addition to Baldwin and Sanders, the letter was signed by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio); Richard Durbin (D-Ill.); Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.); Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.); Ron Wyden (D-Ore.); Bob Casey (D-Penn.); Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.); Robert Menendez (D-N.J.); Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.); Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.); Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); Jon Tester (D-Mont.); Chris Murphy (D-Conn.); Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.); Joe Manchin (D-W.V.); Cory Booker (D-N.J.); Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii); Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii); Jack Reed (D-R.I.); Bill Nelson (D-Fla.); Al Franken (D-Minn.); Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.); Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.); Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Tim Kaine (D-Va.); Angus King (I-Maine); Martin Heinrich (D-Minn.); Gary Peters (D-Mich.); Tom Udall (D-Colo.); and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

Download the letter here