Tester Secures Critical Resources for Montana Schools and Hospitals in Must-Pass Budget Bill

Senator Pushes to Responsibly Invest in TRiO, Pell Grants, and Community Health Centers

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today helped secure responsible investments for Montana students and rural health clinics in a must-pass budget bill.

Tester worked with Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee to include Montana priorities in the 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill. Tester successfully secured critical resources for Montana’s Community Health Centers, TRiO initiatives, and Pell Grant scholarships in the must-pass budget bill.

“A budget reflects priorities, and today I worked with both parties to prioritize Montana’s students and our rural hospitals and clinics,” Tester said. “This budget ensures that every Montana student has a shot at success, it provides much needed resources to our Community Health Centers, it helps us recruit more health professionals to every corner of Montana, and it makes these critical investments while living within our means.”

Tester successfully supported the following investments in the 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill:

  • $1 million in additional funding for Community Health Centers, which serve as the primary source of care for tens of thousands of Montanans in over a dozen communities.
  • Increases the maximum value of a Pell Grant to $6,020 and funds year-round Pell Grants for Montana students.
  • A $3 million increase for TRiO initiatives that help first generation high school and college graduates. The bill also rejects the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate two TRiO programs.
  • $5 million in additional funding to help recruit more nurses to rural communities through scholarships, loan forgiveness, and increased capacity at nursing schools.
  • $3.4 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps Montanans keep the heat on during the winter.
  • $9.2 billion for Head Start, which provides early childhood education to children from birth to age 5 in dozens of Montana communities.
  • $11.5 million in additional funding for Impact Aid, which supports schools that have a smaller local tax base due to federal activity.
  • $286 million for Title X Family Planning, which is the only federal grant initiative dedicated to providing family planning services and reproductive preventive care to rural and underserved families.

The 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill is one of the 12 annual must-pass government funding bills. The bill was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee today and will now come up for a final vote on the Senate floor.