Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah has taken an interest in this issue for years.
"I would think we might be able to get funding for that, because most people have to admit it’s despicable to abuse our senior citizens," he says.
Factors ranging from an aging population to economic instability are at work here; and federal leadership could improve coordination across state and local entities. Still, the timing is rough.
Tennessee Republican Bob Corker also serves on the Aging committee.
"We need to be in the business of streamlining right now. This may be a very good idea – I haven’t heard the merits or negatives around it, but one thing I do know is that any type of new program could only be achieved with the elimination of others," Corker says.
Missouri Democrat, Senator Claire McCaskil, agrees.
"I think it’s really hard, but this is a matter of priorities," she says, "I certainly understand we need to make cuts, but we can’t make all the cuts in about 12 percent of our budget. The pain has to be spread around."
Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, says the path is made more challenging by the fiscal and political environment, but he stays positive.
"There’s still going to be significant federal funding for things, and I think protection for our seniors against abuse has a claim on our hearts as well as our minds," Whitehouse says.
Federal funding for elder abuse prevention has been dropping for several years. For the current fiscal year, this particular line-item is $5 million.