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Efforts to re-establish the House Permanent Select Committee on Aging are receiving a boost of support from a coalition of aging services organizations.

The 69-member Leadership Council of Aging Organizations recently sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives to solicit co-sponsors for House Resolution 583, introduced by Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI), to re-establish the House committee. 

The original committee was active from 1974 to 1992 and conducted investigations, hearings and issues reports to inform Congress on aging-related issues.

The LCAO, which includes LeadingAge and AMDA–The Society for post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine among its members, cited the “disparate impact” of the pandemic on older adults living in assisted living communities and nursing homes in calling for the relaunch of the House committee.

The committee, the coalition said, would have an opportunity “to more fully explore a range of issues and innovations that cross jurisdictional lines, while holding field hearings, convening remote hearings, engaging communities, and promoting understanding and dialogue.”

“Historically, the HSCoA served as a unique venue that allowed open, bipartisan debate from various ideological and philosophical perspectives to promote consensus that, in turn, permeated standing committees,” the letter reads. “Addressing the needs of older Americans in a post-pandemic world will require vigilant oversight and action.”

The coalition credited the House Aging Committee with protecting Social Security, exposing nursing home abuses and setting transparency standards, as well as expanding home healthcare benefits.

The House Committee, the members said, would complement the “strong bipartisan work” of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, currently chaired by Sen. Bob Casey (D-A) and ranking member Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). The Senate committee was established in 1961 as a temporary committee and became a permanent committee in 1977. Special committees have no legislative authority, but they can study issues, conduct oversight of programs and investigate reports of fraud and waste.

The Senate committee is credited with promoting the concerns of grandparents raising grandchildren, tackling elder abuse and fraud, highlighting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults and their families, educating people on the importance of financial literacy in retirement planning, and defining costs associated with isolation and loneliness.

Cicilline previously introduced similar resolutions, but they were unsuccessful.

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