Washington, D.C. - By a vote of 79-18 the Senate passed a bipartisan appropriations omnibus this afternoon that will fund the government at updated levels through the end of September. U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, successfully pushed for a number of provisions that were incorporated in the final bill. The House passed the legislation earlier this week, and it will now go to the President’s desk for his signature.
The funding bill provides $34.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $2 billion increase over last year’s funding level. This $2 billion increase builds on last year’s $2 billion increase, which represented the largest funding boost the NIH had received in more than a decade.
“I have long worked to secure significant investments for biomedical research, which will help us conquer so many diseases that take both an emotional and financial toll,” Senator Collins said. “The $2 billion increase provided for the NIH—which includes $400 million for Alzheimer’s, our most costly disease—will help spur important research that is already underway to develop treatments, means of prevention, and cures for diseases that affect nearly every American family.”
In addition, the omnibus provides significant new funding to combat the heroin and opioid abuse crisis that was authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act.
Senator Collins noted that, “The heroin and opioid abuse epidemic is continuing to harm families and communities in Maine, which tragically experienced another record of overdose deaths last year. This legislation will help alleviate this crisis by providing much-needed resources to boost prevention efforts, expand treatment options, and support law enforcement.”
The funding bill also includes $433 million for the construction of an additional Arleigh Burke class destroyer (DDG-51) that will likely be awarded to Bath Iron Works (BIW). Once the legislation is signed into law, this ship will be fully funded, having received $1 billion in additional funding in the previously enacted FY2016 defense appropriations bill.
“I worked hard to secure the $433 million needed to fully fund the construction of this additional destroyer likely to be awarded to BIW,” remarked Senator Collins. “At a time of growing instability around the globe, the importance of our naval assets to counter these threats and protect our national security is only increasing. Destroyers are the workhorses of the Navy, and there is no workforce better positioned to build this DDG-51 than the highly skilled men and women at BIW.”