Advocacy Update ~ February 26, 2018

This post was written by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager, and Melissa Chacko, Policy Associate.

FY18 Appropriations Update

Since Congress passed a budget deal raising spending caps, it has been a waiting game for the top line allocations, knowns as 302(b), for each spending bill. Of particular concern in the budget deal is a cut to funding for Overseas Contingency Operations, which means a reduction to the State, Foreign Operations bill, which funds USAID and the State Department, unless base funding for this account is increased.

The current Continuing Resolution is set to expire March 23, and appropriators will be working throughout March to come up with the final spending package for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018.

FY19 President’s Budget Released

On February 12, President Trump released a proposed budget for FY2019. Similar to last year, the International Affairs Account was cut 30% from FY2017 enacted levels. Global health programs at USAID and the State Department were cut about $2 billion, with proposed cuts in every account. In addition, global health programs at the National Institutes for Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were also cut. While the budget narrative discussed the importance of global health, and more broadly development and humanitarian assistance, these proposed cuts do not match the narrative.

A quick glance at a few accounts:

1) Recommended U.S. contributions to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis were cut to $250 million and $925 million respectively.
2) $302 million recommended for Family Planning/Reproductive Health, which is $300 million less or a 50% reduction than FY 2017 enacted. FP/RH was zeroed out in the FY18 proposed budget. In addition, U.S voluntary contributions to UNFPA did not receive a request.
3) Zeroed out funding for HIV/AIDS programs at USAID in addition to cuts to both PEPFAR and The Global Fund. In an addendum to the budget (see below), an additional $400 million is provided to PEPFAR, bringing it to the same level as the FY2018 proposed budget.
4) A 6% cut for CDC Center for Global Health, however, does include $109 million for CDC Global Public Health Protection, including $59 million for GHSA from other accounts.
5) Recommended funding for The Fogarty Center, which was zeroed out in the FY2018 request, is $70 million, a $2 million decrease from FY2017 enacted.

Last year, Congress soundly rejected the President’s budget, and while we are still awaiting final FY2018 funding levels, appropriations committees, for the most part, maintained level funding for these accounts. The President’s Budget was finalized before Congress passed the Budget deal in early February. As a result, non-defense discretionary spending was raised by an additional $300 billion. The White House also released an addendum with instructions on how the additional funding could be spent.

Additional Materials

FY19 White House Budget Request
Addendum to President’s FY2019 Budget
State/USAID Congressional Budget Justification
HHS Budget Briefer
GHC Full funding chart (as of February 2018)
GHC Statement

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Testify

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be on Capitol Hill to testify on the FY2019 foreign affairs budget. He will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.

USAID Administrator Mark Green is expected to testify on Capitol Hill the week of March 5. Exact times have not yet been set by the committees.

1) HFAC Hearing – FY 2019 Foreign Affairs BudgetPOSTPONED (Webcast link will be uploaded soon.)

2) SFRC Hearing – Review of the FY 2019 State Department Budget Request and Redesign Plans –  POSTPONED

3) House Committee Budget Hearing (FY 19 Budget Hearing) – Department of State and Foreign Assistance with Secretary TillersonPOSTPONED