Sen. Chris Coons applauded the passage of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

This annual spending bill for the country’s labor, health and education programs contains provisions that will help fight the opioid epidemic, invest in elementary and secondary education and improve college affordability and completion. The bill passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Sept. 28.

“One of the most tragic things about the opioid epidemic is that it is both preventable and treatable with the right programs and resources. Ensuring that prevention programs and resources are available and properly funded for everyone who needs them is a top priority for me, and I’m proud that we were able to include $3.78 billion in funding to fight this epidemic,” said Coons. “I’m also pleased that this appropriations bill includes investments in our nation’s teachers and students. I’m committed to improving access to and affordability of education for all Americans, and this legislation is an important step in the right direction.”

The funding bill includes $3.78 billion, an increase of $2.7 billion over 2017, for prevention and research to address the opioid crisis. The legislation also includes $350 million for opioid overdose surveillance and prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as enhancement of State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs; $495 million to improve access to opioid and substance use disorder treatment in rural and underserved areas; and $100 million to address the needs of children who are affected by parental substance use.

Coons continues to fight for education and advancement for our country’s teachers and students. He’s pleased that this funding bill includes $15.9 billion, an increase of $100 million over fiscal 2018 and $400 million more than the president’s budget, for Title I-A grants to local educational agencies, money that assists high-poverty schools. The funding bill also increases the Pell Grant maximum award by $100, to $6,195, for roughly 8 million students from low- and middle-income families. The legislation also provides $1.06 billion, an increase of $50 million more than fiscal 2018, for TRIO, which includes programs like Upward Bound, Student Support Services and Talent Search, which assist low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities to progress academically from middle school through college graduation.