Delaware’s Congressional Delegation Secures Federal Funding to Protect the Health of Delawareans, Biden, Carper, Castle announce that education and medical research funding continue to increase

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Joseph Biden and Thomas Carper together with Congressman Mike Castle today announced that they secured $800,000 to continue the development of the nation’s first computerized communicable disease reporting system prepared for modern threats of emerging infectious disease and acts of bioterrorism. Last year, the delegation secured $1.8 million to initiate this project. The federal funding for the Delaware Electronic Reporting System, which will allow the Department of Public Health to eliminate the cumbersome paper process, which officials say is work-intensive and hinders speedy response, was included in the Labor – HHS – Education Appropriations Conference Report which was passed the House yesterday and the Senate today. This Appropriations Conference Report also allocates education funding and is the companion bill to the authorization bill, No Child Left Behind, which Castle helped negotiate and Biden and Carper supported. Overall, there is an 18 percent increase for Title I education funding for disadvantaged children and a 19 percent increase for special education. Additionally, this Conference Report includes an increase of nearly $3 billion for the National Institutes of Health, totaling $23.3 billion. The Delegation has urged Congress to double the NIH budget over the 5-year period from FY1998 to FY2003. As a result of these consecutive increases of nearly 15 percent, the budget for the NIH has grown from $13.6 billion in FY1998 to $23.3 billion in FY 2002. “I am particularly pleased that the measure I cosponsored to help recruit and retain more teachers was included in this bill,” said Biden. “No matter what education measures Congress passes, their ultimate success depends on the adults at the blackboard – the teachers. Nearly one quarter of Delaware’s public school teachers will be eligible for retirement within the next four to five years. I am hopeful the money included in this bill will help attract the next generation of qualified teachers in Delaware and throughout the country.” “The only state approved to test the DEERS database for nationwide, instantaneous reporting of communicable disease, Delaware is ahead of the curve, truly a model for the nation. Our nation’s resolve is being tested. Armed with knowledge and support we can face the challenges put before us,” Carper said. “The funding this bill provides for Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) ensures the continued success of the program, and guarantees that young people in high schools across the state and the nation are being given the tools to enter the workforce. JAG graduates enter the real world with skills that make our communities stronger. By providing the instruction and the financial resources, we invest in our future and theirs.” “As I participated in drafting the Education Reform Legislation, No Child Left Behind, I continued to stress the importance of increased funding so schools are able to boost student achievement. Funding must go directly to reform and in turn must help the most disadvantaged students learn from the very beginning.” Castle said. “Additionally, increasing medical research funding will help the NIH make progress on all diseases, and treatments and the electronic reporting system will serve as a model in disease and outbreak identification for other states in years to come.”