September 07, 2017

Van Hollen Fights for Maryland in Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Bill

Today U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voted to support the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. It rejected reckless cuts proposed by the Trump Administration to invest in critical programs that grow our economy, expand vital education and job training programs, and improve the health of American families.

"Families in Maryland deserve every opportunity to achieve the American dream - that starts with good health, good schools and training programs, and good jobs. This bill is a good, bipartisan start to that effort - but it falls short on some investments, and we must work for a final budget agreement that fully meets our nation's needs," said Senator Van Hollen. "I am pleased that bill makes the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a priority. Despite President Trump's call for over $7 billion in cuts, this bill increases funding by $2 billion. I'm proud to represent the NIH, which is performing life-saving research that impacts every American, and I will keep fighting to fund their work."

Senator Van Hollen also supported an amendment offered by Ranking Member Patty Murray, which was not adopted, to increase funding for a number of critical initiatives like a new State Paid Leave Program, child care, substance abuse treatment, public health emergency preparedness, and special education. This amendment highlights the necessity of a budget deal to provide additional resources for workforce, health, and education programs.

Senator Van Hollen worked to ensure that the bill provided important funding for vital Maryland interests.

To make sure Marylanders are prepared to enter and advance in the workforce, the bill rejects deep cuts from the Trump Budget and provides:

  • $815.5 million to help train adults, particularly those who are unemployed and underemployed in disadvantaged communities, for better job opportunities.
  • $843.4 million to help low-income young people who face barriers to employment gain the skills they need to succeed. The bill also encourages the Department of Labor to continue pilot programs that have demonstrated effectiveness. Baltimore City received a $5 million Demonstration Grant from the Summer Jobs and Beyond Grant pilot to support the One Baltimore for Jobs youth summer jobs initiative and was able to place nearly 8,000 youth in meaningful work experiences. The bill also includes $84.5 million for YouthBuild, which has been used in Baltimore City to teach construction skills to young people.
  • $88 million for the Employment and Training Administration's Reintegration of Ex-Offenders program, which helps to provide a second chance and reduce recidivism for people re-entering the community after incarceration by providing skills training and industry-recognized credentials that help them access gainful employment.
  • $95 million for Apprenticeship Grants, particularly in areas of high unemployment, to create proven pathways to good-paying jobs.
  • $30 million for a new national program to prioritize workforce development in Appalachian and the Mississippi River Delta, which could support programs in Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties.
  • $234.4 million for Nursing Workforce Development programs, which address all aspects of nursing workforce demand - including education and recruitment.

To improve the health of Marylanders and those across the nation, the bill provides:

  • $36.1 billion for the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. The NIH is our country's premier institution for medical research, supporting research in all 50 states. It offers our best hope for treating or curing debilitating diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and many other illnesses that American families battle every day. This includes:
  • $400 million for the BRAIN Initiative, which is developing a more complete understanding of brain function and has the possibility of helping millions of people who suffer from various neurological and psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
  • Increased funding for National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Centers. These designated cancer centers around the country are critical to maintaining the pace of scientific discovery and innovation and the development and delivery of new cancer therapies for millions of current and future patients. Both the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, which have an NCI cancer center designation, would result in additional resources.
  • Language supporting Precision Oncology at NCI, which has shown potential for significant advancements in cancer treatments especially for focused on oncology for cancers that are unresponsive to standard interventions.
  • Language supporting Trisomy 21 research at NIH, which could significantly improve the health of individuals with Down syndrome as well as millions of typical individuals.
  • Language supporting opioid misuse and addiction research at NIH to encourage research the development of medications with reduced abuse liability.
  • $324 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, Maryland, which is the only federal agency whose sole focus is to generate reliable and credible information on how to deliver the highest quality care, at the greatest value, with the best outcomes. It also includes language supporting Diagnostic Quality and Safety that would improve how we diagnose medical conditions.
  • $3.8 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in Rockville, Maryland. This funding will provide necessary resources to provide for the treatment, rehabilitative services and prevention of mental illness and substance abuse. It includes:
  • $119 million for the Children's Mental Health Services program, which provides grants and technical assistance to support comprehensive, community-based systems of care for children and adolescents with serious emotional, behavioral, or mental disorders.
  • $56.6 million for the Office of Minority Health, which focuses on strategies designed to decrease health disparities and to improve the health status of racial and ethnic minority populations.
  • $101.1 million for the Independent Living Program, which helps ensure that individuals with disabilities can live a productive and independent life in society.
  • $3.3 billion for the Administration for Children and Families' Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program is the main federal program that helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills, helping them to make ends meet in cold winters and hot summers and stay in their homes.
  • Language supporting minorities in the growing pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in Maryland and Delaware as part of the Health Research and Services Administration's Bureau of Health Workforce.

To give every child a fair chance to succeed, the bill includes:

  • $9.25 billion for Head Start, including $640 million for Early Head Start Expansion and Child Care Partnership Grants. Nearly 9,000 Maryland children receive Head Start services and 1,500 are in Early Head Start.
  • $250 million for Preschool Development Grants, which are used to encourage states to create or expand high-quality education opportunities for four-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. Maryland received a Preschool Development Grant in 2014 and will have the opportunity to compete for additional funds. The Trump Budget would have eliminated this program.
  • $73.25 million for the Promise Neighborhoods Program, which provides a comprehensive continuum of services to students and families in high-poverty communities. Promise Heights in West Baltimore, Maryland received a grant in 2012 that has helped improve infant health, improve school readiness scores for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, reduce chronic absenteeism, increase enrollment in mentoring and after-school programs, and run community food banks in five schools. The Trump budget would have eliminated this program.
  • $15.5 billion for Title I grants, an increase of $25 million, to provide funding to under-resourced schools so that every child, no matter their zip code, has access to a quality education. The bill rejects efforts to take funds from public schools for untested voucher programs.
  • $12 billion for IDEA Part B Grants to States, which help ensure that students with disabilities receive guaranteed access to a free and appropriate public education. The Murray Amendment would have increased funding by $1 billion.
  • $450 million, a $50 million increase, for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, which provide a flexible pool of funding for state and local school systems to deliver a well-rounded education and programs to support the well-being of students. The Murray Amendment, which Senator Van Hollen supported, would have provided full, authorized funding for this important program.
  • $1.19 billion for afterschool programs to give kids a safe environment to learn outside of school hours.
  • $1.72 billion for Career and Technical Education State Grants, which provide funding for pathways to careers and technical certifications at the K-12 and community college levels. In Maryland, this funding supports 97,857 high school students and 63,000 community college students. The Murray Amendment, which Senator Van Hollen supported, would have provided an additional $500 million for these critical activities.
  • $2.05 billion for Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, which provide professional development for teachers and principals and funds for hiring so we have a great teacher in every classroom. The Trump Budget would have eliminated these grants.

To improve access and affordability of higher education, the bill provides:

  • An increase in the maximum Pell Grant to $6,020 and sufficient funding to continue Year-Round Pell. The bill also includes language to ensure that students who were defrauded by institutions of higher education, like students who attended Everest College in Silver Spring, Maryland, would continue to be eligible for Pell Grants and would receive additional support from the Department of Education.
  • $733 million for the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program, which provides financial assistance to the highest-need students. The Trump Budget proposed eliminating this program.
  • $990 million for Federal Work Study, rejecting the Trump Budget's proposed 50 percent cut.
  • $953 million for TRIO and $340 million for GEAR UP to help prepare and assist low-income and first-generation college students to attend and complete college.
  • Level funding for the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities program, which supports four institutions across Maryland and thousands of historically-underserved students, and Howard University, which serves approximately 1,500 Maryland undergraduate and graduate students.

To ensure that Marylanders have the opportunity to serve, the bill protects:

$1 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service, which would have been eliminated in the Trump Budget. This will allow AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members to serve their communities; support the National Civilian Conservation Corps, which has a campus in Baltimore, Maryland; and continue the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service.