WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today voted to advance two FY2018 appropriations bills out of committee: the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act and the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act. After markup of the legislation—which the committee approved today—Senator Capito issued the following statement:
“The Labor, HHS and Education bill provides resources that will support and advance many of our state’s most important and pressing priorities. It will help improve efforts to fight the opioid epidemic, keep West Virginians healthy, grow and develop our workforce and provide our students new opportunities to get a great education. At the same time, it will help prevent waste and abuse of our limited fiscal resources and get rid of initiatives that just aren’t working.
“I am especially thrilled about the inclusion of a directive for the secretary of education to review applications to the Upward Bound program that were previously disregarded for minor technical issues. Too many students were negatively impacted by the Education Department’s decision, and we need to give them a chance to participate in these valuable programs. As a member of the subcommittee that drafted this bill, I made it a priority to make sure schools like West Virginia State University were not left out.
“The State and Foreign Operations bill prioritizes our nation’s strength and security—both here at home and abroad—and puts America’s interests first and foremost. The legislation will help support our allies, fight extremism, uphold democracy, and ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars in all of these efforts.”
Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Bill Highlights:
- Fighting the Drug Epidemic – The bill provides $816 million to combat the growing drug crisis, including $15 million for a new opioid prevention program for community prevention. This is a $665 million or 440 percent increase since FY2016.
- Improving Health – Several provisions provide resources that will help keep West Virginians healthy and support important health and medical research efforts, including:
- $36.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $2 billion increase from FY2017.
- $1.8 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, a $414 million increase.
- $344.3 million, an $11 million increase, for the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) which supports research efforts at West Virginia University, Marshall University and other West Virginia institutions.
- $160.6 million, a $4.5 million increase, for rural health care, in addition to robust support for Community Health Centers, which served more than 400,000 West Virginians last year alone.
- Resources for the Black Lung Clinics Program through the 18 clinics statewide.
- Encouraging Workforce Development and Safety – The legislation includes resources that will help West Virginians gain the knowledge and skills to pursue good-paying jobs and maintain safe working environments, including:
- $30 million to establish a new dislocated worker training initiative that will focus on rural areas, including the Appalachian region.
- $95 million to support flexible and effective apprenticeship opportunities.
- Resources to ensure the safety of our miners through the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
- Advancing Education Opportunities – The bill provides funds for year-round Pell grants, which help students complete higher education programs faster, enter or re-enter the workforce sooner, and graduate with less debt. It also increases the maximum Pell grant by $100, the first discretionary increase in over a decade.
- Ensuring Government Accountability and Responsible Spending – Various provisions will help reduce waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars—including the prevention of Social Security Disability fraud and improper payments—and will eliminate ineffective programs.
More information on the bill is available here.
State and Foreign Operations Bill Highlights:
- Strengthening Security – The bill provides resources that will help strengthen the security over Americans at home and abroad, including:
- $8.29 billion for international security assistance, including resources for counterterrorism and nonproliferation programs, foreign military training and education programs and peacekeeping operations.
- $5.8 billion to ensure the safety of American diplomats, development professionals and facilities abroad.
- A new provision prohibiting assistance to the central government of a country that contributes to the nuclear, ballistic missile or malicious cyber-intrusion capabilities of North Korea.
- Helping Our Allies and Those in Need – The legislation will help provide humanitarian assistance to individuals suffering from manmade and natural disasters around the globe, deliver resources for global health programs that address the needs of the world’s poorest populations, and promote international religious freedom.
- Spending Responsibly – The bill and accompanying report include numerous oversight provisions to ensure the proper use of taxpayer funds and accountability of the administration. It includes no funding for grants, assistance or contributions to the Green Climate Fund.
More information on the bill is available here.
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