Lawmakers in Washington are calling for $1.1 billion in targeted aid for nutrition programs that benefit older Americans as a broader COVID relief package continues to stall.
The measure, backed by Republican Rep. John Katko, has support from Democrats in Oregon and Pennsylvania as well as North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik.
The measure would provide funds to local programs like Meals on Wheels and other efforts that support the health and well being of older people, including job training, benefit enrollment assistance and caregiver support.
“Now, more than ever, local seniors are relying on programming like Meals on Wheels – both for nutritious meals and to help fight loneliness. We must prioritize funding for this program, and others that support our seniors," said Katko, a Republican from the Syracuse area.
"That’s why, together with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, I led an effort calling for $1.1 billion in funds in the next COVID-19 relief package for senior nutrition services and other programs offered through the Older Americans Act."
Outreach programs for senior citizens have been seen as key during the COVID pandemic, espeically as older people are less likely to be able to leave their homes or interact with people given their vulnerability to the virus.
The bill is also a sign of how congressional lawmakers are taking a more targeted approach to aiding local-level programs as the latest coronavirus stimulus measure remains under negotiation and for now appears unlikely to pass anytime soon.
Katko this November faces Democratic challenger Dana Balter in the general election.