Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding the bipartisan Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill agreement.
“Like a welcome thaw in a spring snowstorm, Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress came together to reach a bipartisan Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations deal that provides much-needed and much-appreciated funding increases for research and higher education. Investments in research and higher education are necessary to grow our economy, advance our national security, improve public health, and prevent an innovation deficit. We urge Congress to pass this funding deal without further delay.
“Congressional and appropriations leaders deserve credit for working through differences to craft a final measure that achieves an array of policy goals. The two-year budget deal reached last month that raised the discretionary budget caps made today’s funding agreement possible. APLU has long advocated that lifting those caps is the only viable way to ensure these smart and critical investments receive the level of federal support they need. We are grateful to the congressional and budget leaders who made that deal possible as well.
“In providing a significant increase of $3 billion for NIH research, Congress is helping to ensure our nation develops new cures and better treatments for some of the most devastating illnesses and health problems facing the country. The notable funding increases for the Department of Energy Office of Science and ARPA-E, as well as the boosts for NSF and for the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, will support the proven formula of additional scientific research leading to new technologies and breakthroughs that power long-term U.S. economic growth and help keep our country safe and secure. And an increase in the maximum Pell Grant award combined with increases in Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants and Federal Work Study will help ensure more students can afford to attend college, earn a degree, and be prepared to succeed in the workforce. It is also positive to see language clarifying that, despite of the long-time ban on gun control research, it is ok for the government to fund research on the causes of gun violence.
“While we celebrate many provisions in today’s funding agreement, we must immediately look ahead. There are some important fields of research that do not fare so well in the FY2018 omnibus bill. Additionally, the administration’s budget proposal for FY2019 would severely reverse today’s advances. We urge Congress to once again come together and reject the administration’s proposed cuts to research and education and instead build upon the important progress in this FY2018 funding agreement.”