Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the recently passed Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill includes significant investments for K-12 learning programs, higher-education programs, and health and child development programs. Schumer and Gillibrand fought to make sure that this funding bill prioritized critical investments for New York students, families, and communities. The legislation was signed into law on Friday and will support programs that create safe and enriching learning environments for students, prepare students for success in higher education and in the workplace, and invest in critical health and medical research programs.
“Investing in education and educational programs for the youth across Upstate New York is one of my absolute highest priorities in the Senate. We need to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed in life, and there is no better way to do that than through education,” said Senator Schumer. “Fortunately, this comprehensive bi-partisan legislation will do just that by investing in K-12 educational programs, higher-education programs, and children’s health programs. I was proud to secure these critical federal funds for educational initiatives across New York State, and will keep fighting to ensure that all students have a safe and academically enriching environment to learn and grow up in.”
“This package is an investment in the health and wellbeing of our communities. Education and child development programs are some of the most important tools that we have to help our students succeed in life. In addition, this bill invests in important medical research that could help find treatments to some of the most serious illnesses that people face today,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I fought hard to make sure that this legislation supports New York families, and I will always work to create opportunities for our students and to help our communities thrive.”
Specifically, the FY19 Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill includes funding for the following programs:
K-12 Education Funding: The bill provides $71.5 billion for the Department of Education, an increase of $581 million from FY18. The bill prioritizes programs that provide flexibility for states and local school districts to decide how to best use limited resources, support STEM education, and ensure safe learning environments, such as the following:
- $13.2 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) grants that support special education services for children with disabilities, including grants for infants, families, and children. This is a $96.5 million increase from last year. Gillibrand joined her colleagues in advocating for funding for this program.
- $1.2 billion for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Program, which is the only dedicated federal funding stream for afterschool programs. These programs help keep children safe, improve academic performance, and help working families across the country. Gillibrand joined her colleagues in advocating for funding for this program.
- $1.17 billion for Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, which support activities to provide students with a well-rounded education, including STEM education and computer science; ensure safe and supportive learning environments; and use technology to improve instruction. This is a $70 million increase from last year. Gillibrand joined her colleagues in advocating for funding for this program.
- $1.3 billion for career and technical education state grants, which teach students transferable skills and technical training necessary to succeed in the workplace. This is a $70 million increase from last year. Gillibrand joined her colleagues in advocating for funding for this program.
Higher Education Funding: This spending bill includes funding for programs that promote college access, completion, and affordability, such as the following:
- Increases the maximum Pell Grant award by 1.6 percent to $6,195. This will help students keep up with rising costs for the 2018-2019 academic year. The bill also continues support for Year-Round Pell Grant awards.
- $350 million in funding for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, a discretionary relief fund for borrowers to receive public service forgiveness. The bill also makes student borrowers eligible for PSLF if they were enrolled in an ineligible repayment plan, but otherwise would have been eligible for PSLF.
- $1.1 billion for TRIO programs, a $50 million increase from last year’s level. TRIO programs help first generation students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter into college and complete college and postgraduate education.
- $360 million for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), which is $10 million more than the FY18 enacted level. GEAR UP is a comprehensive grant program, authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act, which currently provides 635,000 students across 46 states with the necessary support to ensure that they are ready for college and career. New York gets over $5 million in funding from this program. Gillibrand joined her colleagues in advocating for funding for this program.
Defense, Health and Human Services Funding: The spending bill includes funding for the following for critical health, research, and development programs:
- $39.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $2 billion increase from FY18. The NIH is the primary agency in the federal government responsible for medical and public health research.
- $12 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to combat the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. This 12.15% Lyme disease funding increase for FY2019 is the first of its kind in five years.
- $10 billion for Head Start Programs, a $200 million increase from FY18. Head Start provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, and nutrition services for low-income children and their families. $50 million of the increase of funding will be allocated specifically for Early Head Start, which helps provide medical, mental health, nutrition, and education services for low-income families with pregnant women, infants, and toddlers. Gillibrand joined her colleagues in advocating for funding for this program.
- $5.3 billion for Child Development Block Grants (CCDBG), which is a $50 million increase from last year. CCDBG supports early intervention and learning experiences for at-risk or low-income children to help them succeed in school, work, and life. Gillibrand joined her colleagues in advocating for funding for this program.
- $20 million for Kidney Cancer Research Program (KCRP), which would benefit millions of Americans, including military personnel and veterans. Kidney cancer is the fourth leading cancer in incidence among patients in the U.S. Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, and the tenth leading cancer overall among Americans. Gillibrand led the push in the Senate for this funding.
- $10 million for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Research Program, which provides funding to finding treatments for ALS. ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that impairs a person’s ability to control muscle movement. Gillibrand joined her colleagues in a bipartisan push for this funding.
- $3.5 billion to fight opioid and mental health epidemics. The Senate-passed appropriations bills this year include a total increase of more than $3.5 billion to fight the opioids and mental health crises compared to FY17, including an increase of $2.9 billion in treatment, prevention and research for programs within the Department of Health and Human Services.
- $3.7 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Program, which assists low-income households and seniors who spend a high proportion of their total household income on home energy.