Today’s passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 marks a positive step forward for the Nation and our economy. This bipartisan legislation provides funding for investments in areas like education, infrastructure, and innovation – investments that will help grow our economy, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class. It supports our national security by providing needed relief for the Defense Department from the untenable sequestration cuts that were undermining military readiness. It ensures the continuation of critical services the American people depend on. And it brings us closer to returning the budget process to regular order.
Passage of this legislation ensures that we have appropriations for every agency in the Federal government, enabling them to more efficiently and effectively serve the American people and bringing greater certainty to businesses and communities across the country. Key areas that are positively impacted by the legislation include:
- Early Learning: The legislation fully restores funding cuts to the Head Start program that were caused by sequestration and provides dedicated resources to improve early education by supporting State efforts to expand preschool for 4-year olds. And the legislation provides additional funding to expand access to high-quality early education for tens of thousands of additional children through the launch of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.
- Health Care: The legislation helps ensure we can continue to move forward in providing quality, affordable health care for millions of Americans through implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act improves many aspects of the Nation's health care system, such as preventing those with pre-existing conditions from being dropped or denied coverage. It also provides tax credits to help pay for coverage and slows the growth of health care costs.
- College Affordability: Funding is included to help bolster American competitiveness by supporting the development of innovative strategies to make college more affordable and help more students graduate on time with high-quality degrees that lead to good jobs.
- Gun Safety: The legislation supports the Administration’s efforts to strengthen school safety and mental health initiatives to help protect our children from gun violence and provide those suffering from mental illness with the treatment they need. It also includes funding for the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, which will fund pilot sites for school districts to develop and implement innovative approaches to school safety.