U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS), praised Senate passage of the fiscal year 2020 Labor/HHS appropriations bill.
Key Priorities Funded in the Labor/HHS Bill:
Supporting Groundbreaking Medical Research and Expanding Access to Health Care Services, Including Mental and Behavioral Health Care:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): The bill includes a $2.6 billion increase for the NIH. Missouri institutions received $640.5 million in NIH funding in FY2019.
- Ending the HIV Epidemic: The bill includes $295 million, an increase of $245 million, to support the President’s HIV initiative and other high priority HIV efforts to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 90% in 10 years. The majority of these resources will be targeted to 48 counties and seven states, including Missouri.
- Opioid Epidemic: The bill continues $3.8 billion to combat the opioid epidemic. Funds are targeted toward improving treatment and prevention efforts; finding alternative pain medications; workforce needs, especially in our rural communities.
- Mental Health: As a critical part of both combating opioid use disorder and ensuring safety in our schools and communities, the bill provides $3.9 billion, a $328 million increase, for mental health research, treatment, and prevention, including:
- Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics: The bill provides $200 million, an increase of $50 million, for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. To date, Missouri clinics have received $12 million in funds from this program;
- Project AWARE: The bill provides $102 million, a $31 million increase, for this program that supports coordination between schools and State Mental Health Agencies to increase awareness of mental health among school-aged youth, train school personnel on detecting and responding to mental health issues, and connect school-aged youth and their families with needed services;
- Mental Health Awareness Training: The bill provides $23 million, an increase of $2 million, for Mental Health Awareness Training in which Missouri was one of the first adopters;
- Suicide Prevention Programs: The bill provides $90 million, an increase of $16 million, to support the suicide lifeline and grants to help identify and help those at risk of suicide;
- Behavioral Health Workforce Education & Training: The bill provides $105 million, an increase of $30 million, to support new and existing workforce training programs.
- Pediatric Mental Health Access Grants: The bill provides $10 million for Pediatric Mental Health Access Grants to expand access to behavioral health services in pediatric primary care settings;
- National Institute of Mental Health: The bill provides $2 billion for mental health research at the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $161.7 million.
- Community Health Centers: The bill provides $1.63 billion for Community Health Centers. There are more than 260 sites in Missouri, with Missouri health centers receiving more than $100 million in federal grant funding to serve a total of 585,000 patients a year.
- Medical Student Education: The bill provides $50 million, an increase of $25 million, for Medical Student Education funding for states with highest projected physician shortages in 2025. Missouri is one of eight eligible states.
- $318.3 million for Rural Health Care programs including:
- Opioid Response: $110 million to support treatment for and prevention of substance use disorders, with a focus on rural communities at the highest risk for substance use disorder;
- Telehealth: $29 million, an increase of $4.5 million, to expand the use of telecommunications technologies within rural areas that can link rural health providers and patients with specialists; and
- Delta States Network Rural Development Network Grant: $22 million, an increase of $2 million, to continue a program to help underserved rural communities in the Delta identify and better address their health care needs. This includes $10 million for the Delta Region Community Health Systems Development (DRCHSD) program to help small rural hospitals improve their financial and operational stability. Madison Medical Center in Fredericktown, was selected to participate in the DRCHSD program in August 2019; Pemiscot County Memorial Hospital in Hayti, Mo., and Iron County Hospital in Pilot Knob, Mo., have participated in the in the program since December 2017.
- Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME): The bill provides $340 million, a $15 million increase, for the CHGME program.
Supporting Education from Early Childhood through Career:
Early Childhood Care and Education:
- Head Start: The bill provides $10.6 billion, an increase of $550 million, for Head Start.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): The bill provides $5.8 billion, an increase of $550 million, for CCDBG.
- Preschool Development Grants: The bill provides $275 million, an increase of $25 million, to help improve the coordination of existing early childhood programs for children from birth to five.
Elementary and Secondary Education:
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): The bill provides $13.6 billion, an increase of $410 million, to support the educational needs of students with disabilities. Missouri received approximately $254 million from these programs for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies: The bill provides $16.3 billion, an increase of $450 million, for grants to school districts to help all children meet challenging state academic standards. Missouri received approximately $249 million in Title I funding for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Title II Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants: The bill provides $2.1 billion, an increase of $76 million, to support teacher professional development.
- Impact Aid: The bill provides $1.5 billion, an increase of $40 million, for Impact Aid. Missouri school districts receive approximately $26 million annually to help compensate for the presence of federal activities and land, including lost revenue.
- STEM and Computer Science Education: The bill provides $65 million, an increase of $5 million, in targeted STEM and computer science education funding, including supporting STEM/CSE teachers.
- Pell Grants: For the third year in a row, the bill increases the maximum Pell Grant award, providing an increase for the 2020-21 school year from $6,195 to $6,345. Approximately 90,000 students receive over $350 million in Pell Grant funding to attend Missouri colleges and universities.
- Campus-Based Student Aid Programs: The bill provides $865 million, an increase of $25 million, for Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and $1.2 billion, an increase of $50 million, for Federal Work Study.
- TRIO: The bill provides $1.1 billion, an increase of $30 million, for the TRIO program to help low-income and first generation students get into college and succeed when they are there.
Preparing America’s Workforce:
- Career Pathways Initiative: The bill provides $20 million to establish new initiatives at the Departments of Labor and Education:
- $10 million for a new initiative to help school districts, institutions of higher education, and area CTE schools implement a wide-range of activities.
- $10 million for a new youth career pathways demonstration program at the Department of Labor to improve workforce readiness, employment and training opportunities, and provide early exposure to multiple career pathways.
- Apprenticeship Program: The bill includes a $15 million increase for the Apprenticeship program, bringing the overall funding level to $175 million.
- Veterans Employment and Training (VETS): The bill provides $311.3 million, an $11.3 million increase, for VETS. VETS provides intensive employment services to veterans and eligible spouses, transitioning service members, and disabled veterans.
- HIRE Vets Medallion Program: The bill continues to provide resources to carry out the HIRE Vets Act, a bill authored by Sen. Blunt which established a tiered recognition program within the Department of Labor to award employers based on their contributions to veteran employment.
- Rural Workforce Training Initiative: The bill provides $30 million in continued funding for the dislocated worker training initiative, Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities, to provide reemployment and training assistance to dislocated workers in rural areas.
- Strengthening Community Colleges Initiative: The bill provides $40 million for a new initiative to better align workforce development needs for in-demand industries with post-secondary education.
- Workforce Training Grants: The bill includes $2.8 billion in grants to states, an increase of $30 million.
- Youth Workforce Training: The bill increases funding for several other programs to provide at-risk youth with the opportunity to gain educational and occupations skills:
- Youth Grants to States: $913 million, an increase of $9.7 million;
- YouthBuild: $94.5 million, an increase of $5 million.
- Job Corps: $1.7 billion, an increase of $25 million.
Reducing Fraud, Waste, and Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars:
- Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments: $175 million to conduct enhanced, in-person assessments to accelerate the reemployment of Unemployment Compensation recipients in order to reduce the duration of their time receiving benefits and the likelihood of exhausting benefit coverage.
Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC):
- $786 million is provided by utilizing the cap adjustment provided in the Budget Control Act. For every $1 spent on HCFAC, $2 is recovered by the U.S. Treasury.
- Preventing Social Security Disability Fraud, Abuse, and Improper Payments: $1.6 billion is provided to support periodic reviews to ensure that individuals receiving Social Security disability benefits are still eligible under program rules.
Other highlights of the bill include:
- Child Welfare and Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Programs: The bill includes $90 million, an increase of $5 million, for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment State Grants and $56 million, an increase of $16 million, for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention Grants.
- Family Violence and Prevention Services: The bill includes $175 million, an increase of $10.5 million, for domestic violence shelters and services, and $12 million, an increase of $2 million, for the national domestic violence hotline.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): $3.7 billion, an increase of $50 million, for home heating and cooling assistance for low-income households. Missouri receives approximately $80 million which provides home energy assistance to approximately 124,000 households.
- Corporation for National and Community Service: $1.1 billion, an increase of $20 million.