THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE MAJORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE October 8, 1998
Dear Senator Lott:
I am writing to urge you to pass legislation to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA) before the Congress adjourns this year. Failure to do so will call into question our nation's commitment to the Act and the vital services it provides to millions of older Americans.
Legislation to reauthorize the OAA has gained an impressive degree of bipartisan support. In fact, the legislation proposed by Senator McCain and Senator Mikulski is cosponsored by more than 60 Senators.
The OAA is receiving broad support because it has played such an important role in responding to the diverse needs of our nation's seniors. It provides more than 100 million meals to nearly one million vulnerable seniors each year through its meals-on-wheels program; it finances and supports an ombudsman program that helps resolve tens of thousands of problems, including abuse and neglect, affecting nursing home residents and other vulnerable populations; it provides job training for seniors who need or want to work; and, in many communities, it provides the type of adult day care that gives families a much needed respite from caregiving responsibilities.
These programs are essential to ensuring that our nation's seniors can maintain their independence. Sometimes a few basic services or programs, such as adult day care or adequate nutrition, are all that is necessary to allow seniors with limited resources to continue living in their homes and communities. Without the OAA, too many older Americans would have no choice but to turn to long-term care facilities to get the help they need. This harms those who would like to remain in their communities, significantly draining our nation's limited resources.
No political party gains -- and all Americans lose -- when we fail to work together to pass a bipartisan reauthorization of the OAA. I am committed to working with you to reauthorize this critically important legislation.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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