Capito Protects Funding for Key Health, Education and Transportation Priorities in West Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), chair of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding the Appropriations Committee’s approval of the FY2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill and the FY2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill today.

“The Senate has taken up the annual appropriations bills several months earlier than in recent Congresses, which is good news for the American people. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am working to ensure that West Virginia’s priorities are considered when our nation’s spending decisions are outlined,” said Senator Capito. “From infrastructure programs to black lung clinics and career training for our displaced coal miners, these two bills secure funding for many of our state’s key health, education and transportation programs.”

Key West Virginia priorities:

FY2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Bill

  • The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program receives $2.9 billion in funding. This program is vital to rural communities in West Virginia as it provides public improvement, affordable housing and other services while giving state and local governments a large amount of control and flexibility.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program, which provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of public airports, is slated to receive $3.35 billion.
  • Since 2005, transportation of crude by rail has increased tremendously. Following the train derailment in Fayette County earlier this year, there is a clear need for additional research into safety. Senator Capito was able to secure funding for the Federal Railroad Administration’s 2016 Safety Initiative: Safe Transport of Energy Products (STEP) program. Additionally, a provision in the THUD appropriations bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to provide a report to the Appropriations Committee analyzing the safest methods for transporting crude oil.  

FY2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill

  • An estimated 36,000 people in West Virginia are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s research is prioritized throughout this bill, which includes record levels of investment in the National Institute on Aging to help reach the national goal of preventing and effectively treating the disease by 2025.
  • The Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program at the National Institutes of Health has helped fund many research projects at higher learning institutions in West Virginia. This bill increases funding for the IDeA program to enable greater investment in research and technology.
  • This bill increases the amount of funding available to Community Health Centers, which serve one in five West Virginians.
  • The Black Lung Clinic Program is funded at $6.7 million in this bill. The bill also directs the Department of Health and Human Services to review its misguided policy capping the amount of money a state can receive. The existing cap has harmed West Virginians, whose need for the funding exceeds the cap’s limitations.
  • Within the Department of Labor’s Employment Training Office, $19 million has been set aside to assist dislocated workers in the coal community with job training assistance.
  • The bill includes $67 million, an increase of $35 million in funding, to combat the opioid epidemic in the United States. Funds will help expand state-level prevention efforts, including adoption of safe opioid prescribing guidelines, improved data collection, drug treatment services and training for first responders.