U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) announced Wednesday that major victories for New Mexican families were included in the Labor, Health and Human Services fiscal year 2020 appropriations package that passed the House.
“After years of Republicans working to chip away at our health care and economic security, House Democrats put forward bold ideas to uplift middle-class families and put America back on track. I am proud to have championed efforts to stand up for women’s health, improve health care access, and invest in our students,” Luján said.
The appropriations package includes broad spending for women’s health, early childhood education, college debt relief, and investments in job opportunities for working Americans. Additionally, Assistant Speaker Luján championed efforts to secure funding for telehealth training, opioid recovery centers, and expansion of biomedical research facilities.
Those investments include:
Telementoring National Training Center Funding and Report Language: The just-passed appropriations package includes $3 million for Rural Health Outreach Programs to support a telementoring training center to train academic medical centers on best practices for primary care providers and care teams across the country. Assistant Speaker Luján is a strong proponent of telehealth and championed efforts to expand the availability of telemedicine funding. Investments in training for diverse and rural care providers will ensure access to quality healthcare for underserved populations.
Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Funding: Assistant Speaker Luján advocated for the funding package to include $10 million to help ensure that people with substance use disorders can access proper treatment.
Encourage Expansion of Health Extension Regional Offices: Assistant Speaker Luján, along with Congresswoman Deb Haaland, pushed for language to expand Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality work to include additional health extension program sites connected to public academic health centers in states with high populations of ethnically under-served minorities, rural communities, and tribal populations to the agency centers.
Grant for Biomedical Research Facilities: Assistant Speaker Luján co-led a letter with Congresswoman Haaland requesting that the NIH continue a grant program to provide federal funds for construction or major remodeling of biomedical research facilities and allocate funding for Institutions of Emerging Excellence. This will help research labs in New Mexico grow and provide new opportunities to our families.
Additional highlights from the appropriations package are included below:
Standing Up for Women’s Health and Improving Health Care Access
- $400 million for Title X family planning programs;
- $3.8 billion to combat the opioid epidemic;
- $56 million in public health workforce initiatives; and
- $168 million for the Diabetes Prevention Program and $20 million for additional efforts to prevent diabetes.
Supporting Students and Families
- $16.9 billion grants for K-12 schools;
- $14.5 billion for Special Education for IDEA services;
- $2.6 billion for teacher professional development;
- $7.7 billion for Child Care and Development Block grant for working families with children;
- $11.6 billion for Head Start programs; allowing the early-childhood education program to reach 800,000 more children
- $2.46 billion for student aid programs (including increasing Pell grants to $6,345 per student);
- $150 million for Hispanic Serving Institutions; and
- $51 million for Tribal colleges and universities.
Fighting for Working New Mexicans
- $3 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Grants;
- $316 million for Veterans Employment and Training Service;
- $250 million for Registered Apprenticeships;
- $1.9 billion for Job Corps to train adults for the workforce; and
- $150 million for new investments in Strengthening Community College Training Grants for job training programs.