House Approves Education/HHS Appropriations Bill Funds Education and Research

Jul 19, 2007 Issues: Education
(Washington D.C.)-  Today, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3043, the “Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008.” This bill restores, in a fiscally responsible manner, funding for important education, labor, and health priorities. Some of these include increases in financial aid for college students, a strong investment in No Child Left Behind, expanding access to health care for the uninsured, and investing in medical research to cure life threatening diseases.

“We are sending a clear signal that a main priority for the federal government is investing in American citizens,” said Rep. Sander Levin. “This budget says we will invest in health care, education, and medical research.”

In addition, the bill provides $9 million in funding for Johanna’s Law. This law was named after Southfield-Lathrup High School teacher Johanna Silver Gordon, who died of Ovarian Cancer. It creates a national public information campaign targeted at women and health care providers to raise awareness about gynecologic cancers.

“Such a significant investment just six months after being signed into law is an incredible victory in the fight against gynecologic cancers,” said Rep. Sander Levin. “This measure will help save the lives of countless women across the United States.”

The appropriations bill adds a modest increase to the 2007 funding level, but is still nearly $3 billion lower than the 2005 levels enacted by the Republican-controlled Congress. The new appropriations include:

  • Makes college more affordable by increasing the maximum Pell Grant by $390, which is on top of an increase of $260 the Democratic-led Congress enacted in February.
  • Expands access to health care for the uninsured by investing in initiatives that will provide new access to health care for more than 2 million uninsured Americans. This bill provides $200 million in additional funding for community health centers, a primary caretaker for the uninsured.
  • Boosts funding to vital medical research by $1 billion over President Bush’s budget. The Democratic Congress increased funding to the National Institute of Health budget, allowing for 545 new research grants at NIH. The University of Michigan is the 7th largest recipient nationwide of NIH grants, receiving nearly $370 million in research grants per year.
  •  Adds over a billion dollars to the President’s request for No Child Left Behind. This includes over $1 billion for Title I, the largest increase in the history of Title I. These increases give an additional 161,000 low-income children extra help with reading and math.
  •  Invests in education for children with disabilities. This bill increases the state grants for disabled children by $800 million over what the President requested. This helped the states pay for the gradual rising cost of special education.
  •  As electric bills are rising, the bill provides $2.7 billion for the low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) which is 49% above the President’s request and 23% above current funding.
  •  Prohibits Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from cutting funds for local hospitals.