Vermont Highlights Of The Senate-Passed Defense, LHHS Appropriations Package

The Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Programs “Minibus” appropriations bill, accounting for 65 percent of all discretionary spending in the annual federal budget, includes significant wins spearheaded by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for Vermont families.  The Senate passed the bill Thursday night in a strong bipartisan vote of 85 to 7.


The package includes $3.69 billion for LIHEAP, a $50 million increase over fiscal year 2018.  LIHEAP has proven to be one of the most effective safety net programs, successfully leveraging investments from all stakeholders in keeping families safe and healthy.  Leahy, a longtime advocate of strengthening LIHEAP, played a leading role in rejecting President Trump’s attempts to eliminate the program in his budget.

Farm to School:

The package includes $2 million in new funding for the Farm to School program.  Leahy is the author of the Farm to School Program, which is administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provides federal grants to help schools across the country plan and implement farm to school programs.  Nationally, more than 40,000 schools participate in these programs, and 83 percent of Vermont school districts take part in farm to school activities.  President Trump’s budget would have eliminated the Farm to School program.   

Community Health Centers:

The package includes $5.63 billion, a $200 million increase over fiscal year 2018, for Community Health Centers.  The funding will help to expand the largest safety net system of primary and preventive care in the country, helping rural Vermonters receive health care. This includes $1.63 billion in discretionary funding and the $4 billion in mandatory funding from the program’s reauthorization.  Leahy was a lead negotiator in the bipartisan budget agreement, which reauthorized the program.

College Affordability:

The package increases the maximum Pell Grant award by $100 to $6,195, taking a step toward making college more affordable for Vermont families.    

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David Carle: 202-224-3693