For the first time in more than 20 years, Congress has passed a bill, prior to the end of the fiscal year, that funds the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump on September 28.
The Department of Education is funded $581 million above the FY18 level. Most notably, the maximum Pell Grant award by increased $100, to $6,195. Funding for other programs within ED include:
- The TRIO and GEAR UP programs, which help first-generation college students prepare for, enter, and complete college, were increased by $50 million and $10 million, respectively, bringing TRIO funding to $1.06 billion and GEAR UP to $360 million.
- FSEOG and Federal Work Study were level-funded at the FY18 level.
- The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program received a $350 million increase in funding (and had some of its eligibility requirements changed).
- The Career, Technical, and Adult Education program, which assists individuals who continue to develop their skills after high school, saw a $95 million increase, bringing the funding level to $1.9 billion.
The National Institutes of Health received a $2 billion increase in funding. This includes a $425 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease research, and a $100 million increase for the Cancer Moonshot initiative. Additionally, the bill includes more than $6.7 billion to address substance use and mental health, including opioid and heroin abuse, which is $228 million above the FY18 enacted level.
The spending package also funds the Department of Defense and increases funding for Department of Defense basic research by almost 12 percent.
In addition to the agencies listed above, the bill included a continuing resolution that extends current funding levels through December 7 for the seven federal agencies that did not receive their full-year funding before the new fiscal year began on October 1.
Trump had originally called the bill “ridiculous,” since it did not include funding for a wall on the southern border, but in the days leading up to the end of the fiscal year, he signaled that he was willing to sign the bill into law to avoid a government shutdown, as midterm elections are five weeks away.