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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Funding the Values We Prioritize

July 24, 2017
Weekly Columns
This past week, as the House Appropriations Committee considered all twelve bills to fund the government, one of the more significant funding measures was passed. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee is responsible for funding some of our government’s most vital agencies that reflect the things we place value on as a society – our health, our jobs and our education. For the past three years, I have served as the Chairman of this subcommittee, and I have seen how the agencies within this bill’s jurisdiction impact almost every aspect of our lives. From cancer research to early childhood education programs, this bill plays a large role in improving Americans’ lives of all ages.
 
For decades, our government has relied on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to be the helm of medical research and biodefense. The important work that takes place in those facilities is essential to our national security and public health. This year, the NIH received a total of $35.2 billion, a $1.1. billion increase from last year, an increase for the third consecutive year. These funds will be allocated among Alzheimer’s disease research, the Cancer Moonshot program for cancer prevention and cure research, medical drug innovation, mental health and substance abuse programs and numerous disease initiatives.
 
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also received $7 billion this year. One of the most critical elements of the CDC is its biodefense resources. This year, the CDC’s Public Health Preparedness and Response programs will continue with an increase of $45 million – a total of $1.45 billion. Our public health is fundamentally part of our national security. Just as our military gears up on military defense machinery and equipment, the CDC serves as a biological shield for some of the world’s most deadly diseases.
 
Providing strong, quality education for students across the country has always remained a fundamental priority in the creation of every LHHS bill. I’ve met with countless groups and individuals who have expressed their gratitude to college preparedness programs like TRIO and GEAR UP. TRIO received a total of $1.01 billion combined and will be integral in helping thousands of first-generation college students prepare for higher education. GEAR UP funding was also totaled by $350 million. The Department of Education continues to be a leader for Special Education resources as well. This year, IDEA Special Education funding received an incredible increase of $200 million, for a total of $12.2 billion. For the younger students, under the Administration for Children and Families, the early childhood program Head Start received $9.3 billion. All of these funding measures add up to create a quality education system for students, who are the future of our nation.
 
In other areas of funding, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting continues to be supported in advance for three years at $445 million, and the National Labor Relations Board will receive $249 million. In addition, there is a provision included to prohibit the implementation of the “joint-employer” rule at the National Labor Relations Board.
 
Overall, this bill eliminates wasteful programs and invests in the ones that are successfully providing for our health, education and job security. The American taxpayer deserves to know that their hard earned money is spent well. The funding laid out in this bill demonstrates good, solid funding measures that create a secure future for our nation.