December 21, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS), today announced key priorities that were included in the fiscal year 2021 Labor/HHS funding bill. The bill is the product of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations and is part of the larger government funding bill Congress will consider shortly.
“This bill provides resources for critical programs that impact the lives of nearly every American – from educating students and providing workforce development opportunities to improving health care and paving the way for new treatments and cures,” said Blunt. “This bill includes the sixth consecutive significant increase for the National Institutes of Health. As we have seen first-hand this year, medical research is key to responding to diseases we have fought for years, like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as novel viruses like COVID-19. The bill continues our commitment to fighting the opioid and stimulant epidemic, which is unfortunately on the rise during the pandemic. The bill provides funding for education and early childhood programs, from helping hardworking families afford high-quality early childcare, to investing in Career and Technical Education, to making college more affordable. Finally, as our economy continues its recovery, the bill focuses investment in workforce programs, like the apprenticeship program, to ensure Americans can compete in a global economy.”
In addition to funding a range of health, education, and workforce programs, the bill includes resources to prevent waste, fraud, abuse, and improper payments in the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs. Since becoming chairman, over the last six years Blunt has led the effort to reprioritize funding within the Labor/HHS bill, including eliminating 30 programs representing over $1 billion in annual savings.
Key Priorities Funded in the 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 $1.25 billion increase for NIH. Since Blunt became chairman of
the Labor/HHS subcommittee in 2015, NIH funding has increased by $12.85
billion, or nearly 43%. According to data from United for Medical Research, NIH
funding supported nearly 476,000 jobs and more than $81 billion in economic
activity nationwide in FY2019. In Missouri, NIH funding supported $1.6
billion in new economic activity and more than 9,000 jobs. Through December
1, 2020, Missouri institutions received $670.8 million in NIH funding for 1,351
grants. From 2015-December 1, 2020, NIH funding to Missouri institutions
increased by $199.2 million or 42.2%.
Ending the HIV Epidemic: $443.3 million,
an increase of $132.3 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, for prevention, diagnoses,
research, and response activities. Missouri received over $4.5 million in
fiscal year 2020 for these efforts.
Opioid Epidemic: $4 billion, an increase
of $85 million, 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; and treating
behavioral health. Importantly, the bill gives states flexibility to use opioid
response funds on stimulants across multiple government programs. Preliminary
2020 numbers show that the challenges of this year are likely to increase the
number of opioid-involved deaths, emphasizing the need to continue these
critical investments. Under Blunt’s leadership, funding for health-related
opioid programs has increased by $3.7 billion.
Mental Health: As a critical part of both
combating opioid abuse and ensuring safety in our schools and communities, the
bill provides $4 billion, a $188 million increase, for mental health research,
treatment, and prevention, including:
Certified Community Behavioral Health
Clinics: $250 million, an increase of $50 million, for Certified Community
Behavioral Health Clinics. In 2018, Blunt targeted funding to community clinics
that provide a comprehensive approach to mental health care treatment. To date,
Missouri clinics have received $26 million in funds from this program. Blunt
has led efforts to expand access to mental health care, including through his Excellence
In Mental Health Act, which created a pilot program in Missouri and seven
other states to advance progress toward treating mental health like all other
health. The bill also extends the Excellence program for three years. The program
was extended and expanded to two additional states in the Blunt-backed CARES
Mental Health Block Grant Crisis Set-Aside:
$35 million for a new mental health block grant set-aside which will support
state efforts to build much needed crisis systems to address the needs of
individuals in mental health crisis in a high quality, expeditious manner. The
development of these services will promote 24/7 access to well-trained mental
health professionals in the time of acute mental health crisis;
Project AWARE: $107 million, a $5 million
increase, for the Project AWARE program that supports coordination between
schools and state mental health agencies to increase awareness of mental health
among school-aged kids, train school personnel on detecting and responding to
mental health issues, and connect school-aged kids and their families with
needed services. Within this funding, the bill provides $12.5 million, an
increase of $2.5 million, to address areas that have experienced civil unrest;
Mental Health Awareness Training: $24
million, an increase of $1 million, for Mental Health Awareness Training in
which Missouri was one of the first adopters;
Suicide Programs: $102 million, an
increase of $12 million. This increase provides support to the suicide lifeline
and grants to help identify and help those at risk of suicide;
Behavioral Health Workforce: $150
million, an increase of $11 million, to support Behavioral Health Education and
Workforce Training programs and Mental and Behavioral Health programs. Funding
includes $29.7 million for the Mental and Substance Use Disorder (SUD)
Workforce Training Demonstration for grants to train professionals to provide
SUD and mental health treatment;
Pediatric Mental Health Access Grants:
$10 million for Pediatric Mental Health Access Grants to expand access to
behavioral health services in pediatric primary care settings; and
National Institute of Mental Health: $2.1
billion for mental health research at NIH, an increase of $60.7 million.
Public Health Preparedness: $4.1 billion,
a $58 million increase, for programs that help America’s communities and
hospitals prepare for, respond to, and recover from public health and medical
disasters and emergencies. These events include natural disasters, pandemic
diseases, and man-made threats. This includes $6 million to support the
pediatric pandemic network to prepare for and respond to global health threats.
Since FY2015, the committee has increased public health preparedness funding by
$1.3 billion, or 46%.
Alzheimer’s Research and Care: The bill increases investments in groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research and caregiver support for one of America’s most costly and prevalent diseases. The cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is expected to increase from $305 billion this year to $1.1 trillion by 2050, with Medicare and Medicaid paying roughly 70% of the total cost. The bill provides:
$3.1 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research,
an increase of $300 million. Under Blunt’s chairmanship, there has been nearly
a five-fold funding increase for Alzheimer’s research;
$15 million, an increase of $5 million, for the
BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act to create a national public health
infrastructure to increase early detection and diagnosis and support prevention
o $27.5 million, an increase of $1 million, for expanding direct services through the Alzheimer’s disease program at the Administration for Community Living.
Community Health Centers: $1.68 billion
for Community Health Centers, an increase of $57.3 million. The bill also
reauthorizes funding for CHCs for three years. As co-chair of the Community Health
Center caucus, Blunt previously introduced
legislation to reauthorize and increase mandatory funding for the program. There
are more than 300 sites in Missouri, with Missouri health centers receiving
over $115 million in federal grant funding to serve a total of more than
606,000 patients a year.
Medical Student Education: $50 million
for Medical Student Education for states with the highest projected primary
care physician shortages in 2025. Funding will provide supplemental grants to
both the University of Missouri and University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Pediatric Pandemic Network: $10 million
for a new regional pediatric network made up of children’s hospitals to prepare
for and respond to global health threats.
Rural Health: $329.5 million for Rural
Health Care programs, an increase of $11.2 million. The obstacles faced by
patients and providers in rural communities are unique and often significantly
different from those in urban areas. Funding for rural health care programs has
more than doubled under Blunt’s chairmanship.
Delta States Network Rural Development
Network Grant: $24 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 $12 million for the Delta Region
Community Health Systems Development (DRCHSD) program, which started under
Blunt’s chairmanship, to help small rural hospitals improve their financial and
operational stability. Pemiscot County Memorial Hospital in Hayti, Mo., and
Iron County Hospital in Pilot Knob, Mo., have participated
in the DRCHSD program since December 2017 and Ste. Genevieve County Memorial
Hospital in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. has participated since October 2019.
Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical
Education (CHGME): $350 million, a $10 million increase, for the CHGME
program, which protects children’s access to high quality medical care by
providing freestanding children’s hospitals with funding to support the
training of pediatric providers. In Missouri, Children’s Mercy Hospital in
Kansas City and St. Louis Children’s Hospital received more than $13 million
last year in combined funding from this program. This funding level represents
an increase of $85 million for CHGME under Blunt’s chairmanship, or 32%.
Promoting State and Local Flexibility in Education, From Birth Through College and Career:
Head Start: $10.7 billion, an increase of
$135 million, to help all Head Start programs keep up with rising costs,
maintain enrollment, and continue to provide high-quality services for children
and families. Missouri Head Start programs receive more than $167 million
annually and provide high-quality early childhood services to 15,000 children
and their families.
Child Care and Development Block Grant
(CCDBG): $5.9 billion, an increase of $85 million. Over the last three
years, funding for CCDBG has more than doubled, which has helped improve the
safety and quality of child care programs, including increasing provider
payment rates, and expand working families’ access to high-quality child care.
Missouri receives over $106 million from the CCDBG annually.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA): $13.8 billion, an increase of $181 million, to support the
educational needs of students with disabilities, which includes an increase of
$3.5 million for preschool grants and an increase of $4.9 million for grants
for infants and families. Missouri received approximately $262 million from
these programs for this school year.
Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies:
$16.5 billion, an increase of $227 million, for grants to school districts to
help all children meet challenging state academic standards. Missouri received
approximately $260 million in Title I funding for this school year to support
schools with a significant number or percentage of low-income students.
Impact Aid: $1.5 billion, an increase of
$15 million. Missouri school districts receive approximately $28 million to
help compensate for the presence of federal activities and land, including lost
STEM and Computer Science Education (CSE):
$67 million, an increase of $2 million, in targeted STEM education funding,
including specifically prioritizing CSE.
21st Century Community Learning Centers:
$1.3 billion, an increase of $10 million, for before- and after-school
Career and Technical Education State Grants: $1.3 billion, an increase of $52 million. Missouri received approximately $25 million to support CTE programs across the state this school year.
Charter Schools Program: $440 million,
the same as the FY2020 level, to help support the creation, replication, and
expansion of high-quality charter schools.
Pell Grants: For the fourth year in a
row, the bill increases the maximum Pell Grant award, an increase of $150, or
2.4%, for the 2021-22 school year, from $6,345 to $6,495. Approximately 90,000
students receive over $350 million in Pell Grant funding to attend Missouri
colleges and universities. The bill continues support for year-round Pell
Grants, which help students complete post-secondary education programs faster
and enter or re-enter the workforce sooner. Blunt successfully
led efforts to restore eligibility for year-round Pell Grants in the FY2017
omnibus appropriations bill.
TRIO: $1.1 billion, an increase of $7
million, to help low-income and first generation students get into college and
succeed when they are there.
Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and
Universities (HBCU) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSI): Includes
an increase of $32 million for programs specifically targeted at strengthening
HBCUs and MSIs.
Preparing America’s Workforce:
Career Pathways: $10 million to continue
an initiative at the Department of Labor to improve career pathways for
students that can lead to the full-range of post-secondary college and career
Rural Postsecondary Education and Economic
Development Program: $10 million for a new initiative to improve postsecondary
access and completion among rural students by providing services for students
from middle school through college, and promoting partnerships between school
districts, institutions of higher education, and regional economic development
Apprenticeship Opportunities: $185
million, an increase of $10 million, for the Apprenticeship Program to expand
flexible and effective workforce training opportunities.
Veterans’ Employment and Training (VETS)
Programs: $316 million, an increase of $5 million, for VETS programs.
Funding supports veterans in the transition assistance program as they move
into the civilian workforce and helps homeless veterans attain skills for
The bill continues to provide the Department of
Labor with the necessary resources to carry out Blunt’s HIRE
Vets Act, which established a tiered recognition program within the
Department of Labor to award employers based on their contributions to veteran
employers in Missouri received a HIRE Vets Medallion in 2019, and seven
employers were recognized in 2020.
Rural Workforce Training Initiative: $35
million, an increase of $5 million, to continue the Workforce Opportunity in
Rural Communities program started in 2018 under Blunt’s chairmanship to provide
reemployment and training assistance in the Delta and Appalachian regions. This
year, Blunt recognized
three Missouri grant recipients for their awards totaling more than $3.5
Workforce Training Programs: $2.85
billion, an increase of $25.5 million, for state workforce training programs.
These funds are distributed by formula to states and localities to meet each
state’s unique job training and reemployment needs. Missouri received $35.6
million for training and employment services grants in 2020.
Youth Workforce Training Programs: The
bill increased funding for programs that provide at-risk youth with the
opportunity to gain educational and occupational skills:
Youth Training Grants to States: $921
million, an increase of $8 million;
Job Corps: $1.75 billion, an increase of
$5 million. Missouri has three Job Corps centers located in Excelsior Springs,
Puxico, and St. Louis; and
YouthBuild: $96.5 million, an increase of
$2 million. Missouri has four current YouthBuild grantees located in Columbia,
St. Joseph, and St. Louis.
Reducing Fraud, Waste, and Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars:
Reemployment Services and Eligibility
Assessments: $200 million to conduct enhanced, in-person assessments to
accelerate the reemployment of Unemployment Compensation recipients to reduce
the duration of their time receiving benefits and the likelihood of exhausting
benefit coverage. These actions also help protect the integrity of the
Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund by reducing improper payments. This program
has been shown to save $2.60 for every $1.00 spent.
Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC):
$807 million, an increase of $21 million, is provided by utilizing the cap
adjustment in the Budget Control Act. For every $1.00 spent on HCFAC, $2.00 is
recovered by the U.S. Treasury. This will create over $10.2 billion in savings
to the Treasury over 10 years.
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. This funding is estimated to
save approximately $9 billion over 10 years for the Social Security, Medicare,
and Medicaid programs.
Other highlights of the bill include:
Adoption Opportunities: $44 million, an
increase of $2 million, to help remove barriers to adoption and find permanent
homes for children, particularly children with special needs.
AmeriCorps: $455 million, an increase of
$27 million, for AmeriCorps State and National grants and $225 million, an
increase of $4 million, for AmeriCorps Seniors programs. Last year, more than
1,300 AmeriCorps and 3,500 Senior Corps members helped address local needs in
schools and communities across Missouri, including responding to natural disasters.
Blunt has also cosponsored
legislation to expand national service programs to help the nation respond
to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention:
$61 million, an increase of $5 million, to support community-based efforts to
prevent child abuse.
Family Violence and Prevention Services:
$182.5 million, an increase of $7.5 million, to provide services and temporary
shelter for victims of domestic violence, and $13 million, an increase of $1
million for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
(LIHEAP): $3.75 million, an increase of $10 million, to help low-income
households with home heating and cooling costs.
Runaway and Homeless Youth Program: $137 million, an increase of $4.4 million, for services and temporary shelter for homeless youth.