THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT CLINTON ON ANNIVERSARY OF THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT
Today I am pleased to mark the 30th anniversary of the Older Americans Act, an Act which has allowed millions of elderly Americans to live with dignity, safety and independence.
When President Johnson signed this bill into law 30 years ago, he characterized the best intentions of a Nation when he said:
"The Older Americans Act clearly affirms our Nation's sense of responsibility toward the well-being of all of our older citizens. But even more, the results of this act will help us to expand our opportunities for enriching the lives of all of our citizens in this country, now and in the years to come."
Indeed, we should be proud of our Nation's compact with older Americans and the public private partnership that is embodied in the Older Americans Act. This compact has included community-based services such as Meals on Wheels, transportation, ombudsman services and other efforts to prevent abuse of the elderly.
As the Congress considers reauthorization of the Older Americans Act this year, my Administration is committed to keeping the Act whole and preserving the core principles which have guided its success -- grass roots support, citizen input, bottom-up planning and coordination of services. Programs like the Title V Senior Community Service Employment Program have been instrumental in helping us all benefit from the accumulated experience and judgement of older Americans. I will fight to keep these programs strong, and to maintain the active role of the national aging network in assisting elderly Americans.
While we commemorate an important anniversary today, every American should be proud that we have greatly improved the way our people live their lives as they grow older, providing new hope for entire lifetimes of purpose and dignity. We must remember that with this kind of opportunity in a democracy goes continued responsibility. Our job today is to preserve this progress not only for our current seniors in their lifetimes, but for all generations of Americans to come.