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Bipartisan Health & Education Funding Bill Passes in Committee

Legislation Includes Provisions to Support Medical Research and Help Students

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), member of the Senate Health and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, today commended the full Senate Appropriations Committee’s 29-1 vote to advance legislation to support healthcare research and students. The bill directs funding and operations within the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies for fiscal year 2017.

“Supporting medical research improves patient care and helps those living with devastating diseases,” said Sen. Moran. “I’m especially proud of provisions in this bill that bolster our ability to understand and find cures for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. These diseases impact millions of Americans and their families each year. Every effort we can make to stop or slow the onset of these terrible diseases today not only gives hope to those afflicted and their loved ones, but also helps save millions of lives and billions of dollars for future generations.”

“This bill also assists students by expanding access to Pell grants year-round and increasing the maximum amount available through the grants,” Sen. Moran continued. “Kansas is home to some of the best community colleges in the nation. Providing our students with additional opportunity and flexibility in accessing the educational resources of our community colleges will help more students achieve their dreams.”

The bill prioritizes a number of key issues for Kansans, including:

Providing $34 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $2 billion above FY2016, including:

  • $300 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, an increase of $100 million;
  • $1.39 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, an increase of $400 million;
  • $250 million, an increase of $100 million, for the BRAIN Initiative to map the human brain;
  • $333.4 million, an increase of $12.5 million, for the Institutional Development Award;
  • $463 million, an increase of $50 million, to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria;
  • $12.6 million for the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act;
  • Increases to every institute and center to continue investments in innovative research that will advance fundamental knowledge and speed the development of new therapies, diagnostics and preventive measures to improve the health of all Americans.

Promoting College Completion and Affordability through Pell Grants:

  • Restoring year-round Pell grants.
  • Expanding eligibility and flexibility in the Pell grant program to allow students who wish to enroll in additional coursework after exhausting his or her Pell grant award for an academic year to receive a Pell grant for an additional term during the academic year. The maximum benefit these students may receive during a year is capped at 150 percent of the otherwise maximum Pell grant. Currently, full-time students and some part-time students exhaust their full benefit after two semesters. Expanded eligibility will provide an incentive for students to take classes year-round and stay continuously enrolled. It would also help students stay on track for graduation or accelerate completion of their degree program, enter or re-enter the workforce sooner, and graduate with less student debt. This provision is expected to provide an estimated 1 million students an additional Pell grant of, on average, $1,650 during the 2017-18 school year.
  • Including more than sufficient funding to support an increase in the maximum Pell grant from $5,815 for the 2016-17 school year, to an estimated $5,935 for the 2017-18 school year.

It is the ninth appropriations bill approved by the committee this year. The full U.S. Senate now has the opportunity to debate the bill, along with the other 11 appropriations bill required of Congress annually.