Statement by the Vice President on the Older Americans Act (10/27/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release                              Contact: James E.
Friday, October 27, 2000                                     (202) 456-7035

                        ON THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT

     One of the most cherished values in America is respect for our parents
and our country's older citizens.  The establishment of Social Security was
itself an expression of that value, and it represented a commitment to
ensure that no American will find him- or herself in grinding poverty in
their later years.  So, too, was the creation of Medicare, which assured
our older neighbors that they would have some help from all of us in
protecting their health.

     Passage of the Older Americans Act continued that honorable tradition.
But for the past five years, Congress failed to reauthorize the landmark
legislation.  Finally, in the last days of this session, Congress has
acted.  This vote is long overdue, but I welcome the fact that we will be
able to continue our commitment to older Americans.  States will be able to
continue providing meals, legal assistance, employment and transportation
services, ombudsmen for nursing homes and protection against abuse for our
older neighbors in communities all across the country.

     I am especially pleased that the legislation approved by Congress this
week includes the National Family Caregiver Support Program.  The program,
a significant Administration priority, helps hardworking families to care
for parents, grandparents and other older relatives who suffer from illness
or disability.

     Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, made more powerful with
the National Family Caregiver Program, represents a victory for older
citizens and for all Americans.  I appreciate those in the aging community
who worked hard for this result.  By virtue of their efforts, an important
American value has been sustained.

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