Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding the omnibus appropriations bill that congressional leaders announced this morning, which would fund government through September.
“The FY2017 omnibus appropriations bill congressional leaders announced this morning would make critically important strides in our nation’s efforts to boost college completion and invest in cutting-edge medical research. APLU thanks the appropriations leaders and House and Senate leadership for coming to a bipartisan agreement on FY2017 appropriations and urges Congress to pass this bipartisan funding bill without delay.
“This bill is a major victory for low-income students who need the support of Pell Grants year-round to complete their degrees. The bill’s restoration of year-round Pell will help these students accelerate progress toward their degrees, minimize debt, and allow them to join the workforce more quickly. APLU applauds Congress for working in a bipartisan fashion to support student success. The restoration of year-round Pell is vital progress in making a college education more affordable for students and was a major priority of APLU and our member universities.
“Another top APLU priority the bill strongly addresses is robust funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The proposed omnibus would provide over $34 billion for the NIH, the second consecutive year of a $2 billion increase for the biomedical research agency. These increases follow a decade of reduced investments that constricted American medical innovation. The FY2017 omnibus bill puts our country back on track for needed healthy and sustained federal investments in medical research.
“The NIH plays a central role in driving discoveries that stamp out disease, enhance our quality of life, and extend life expectancy. The pathbreaking discoveries produced through NIH research make the United States the world leader in medical innovation. An additional $2 billion in NIH funding will bolster our nation’s biomedical enterprise and make our economy more competitive as other nations race to invest in a sector the United States has long dominated thanks in large part to broad-based investments in publicly funded research.
“Some other important federal higher education and research programs will see small increases and a few will be cut through the bill. We look forward to working with the Congress and the administration on all public research university priorities during the FY2018 appropriations process.”