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Chairman Neal Opening Statement for Subtitle E Relating to Elder Justice at Markup of the Build Back Better Act

(As prepared for delivery)

We now turn to Subtitle E, “Budget Reconciliation Recommendations Relating to Elder Justice,” which will fund vital elder justice programs that help protect America’s seniors and people living with disabilities.

The U.S. population is aging, and we need policies to help Americans age and live safely in place without facing the risk of experiencing various forms of maltreatment.

Investments we are considering will fund programs included in the Elder Justice Act, which was first authorized in 2010, but over the years never received the resources needed to reach its full potential.

This funding includes increased support for state and local Adult Protective Services offices and long-term care ombudsman programs to better detect and prevent elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has received $3.6 million from the funding we provided in the American Rescue Plan to support these vital efforts. And other states have also benefitted – Texas received more than $11 million; Illinois more than $6 million; Florida more than $12 million – all for work to address maltreatment, including abuse, neglect, isolation, and exploitation. 

We also include funding for three new programs that address vital gaps in care for older adults. The first recruits and supports workers in long-term care settings, including nursing homes.

The second provides grants to community-based organizations to address social isolation.

And the third firms up the linkages between our social supports and health care system with legal supports aimed at helping vulnerable adults.

I want to thank Representatives Horsford, Sanchez, and Bonamici for their tireless work on these investments. And of course, in the Senate, Chairman Wyden has the companion legislation to my bill, H.R. 4969, which served as the inspiration for this budget proposal. The Elder Justice Coalition called that plan “the most comprehensive elder justice legislation introduced since the original Elder Justice Act.”

I look forward to this Committee’s thoughtful consideration of these measures that will provide critical resources for our nation’s seniors, Americans with disabilities, and our current and future health professionals.

I now recognize the gentlelady from Indiana,  Ms.Walorski, for purposes of an opening statement.