WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) released the following statement on Senate passage of 2019 Appropriations bills for Defense and Labor-Health and Human Services.
“We are making progress in prioritizing funding for programs that are making a real difference in the lives of Marylanders. I’m especially proud that we are increasing funding for the Bethesda-based National Institutes of Health ($2B increase to $39B) and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities ($9.7M increase to $314.8M). Both Democrats and Republicans agree that it is in our national interest to provide robust federal funding for NIH to ensure that our Nation remains at the forefront of life-saving, global medical research.
“The Senate also is providing substantial federal resources for combating opioid abuse, which has hit every county in our state. Nationwide, the Senate approved $3.7B, with $1.5B of that dedicated to State Opioid Response Grants. Also included is report language for peer support services in Medicaid, encouraging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with states to identify opportunities to employ certified peer support specialists in Medicaid to further address the opioid epidemic. Peer support services have been shown to improve patient experiences and outcomes when treating substance abuse and prescription drug misuse.
“I’ve been encouraged by the bipartisan support for supporting the training of more oral health professionals. We’re also increasing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, funding programs to protect at-risk youth and working to keep our children safe from lead poisoning. We are adding serious funding to bolster effective programs to reintegrate ex-offenders back into their communities. And we continue to honor the pain and hardships experienced by Holocaust survivors and their families through funding of the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Fund.”