Advocacy Update ~ May 1, 2017

This post was written by Global Health Council Senior Advocacy Manager Danielle Heiberg.

Congress Passes Short-Term CR to Keep Government Open
Despite being six months into Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, Congress needs another week to finish the spending package for the year. On Friday (April 28), Congress passed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open until May 5. Senate and House negotiators were expected to work through the weekend to negotiate the remaining riders and finalize a final bill for the remainder of the fiscal year which ends September 30. House Republicans have a rule that legislation must be available for review at least three days before a vote, so text could be available by Wednesday for a Friday vote.

Draft FY18 USAID and State Budget
On April 28, Foreign Policy published a draft document with FY2018 budget figures for USAID and the State Department. The document is dated April 6, and there is the possibility that these numbers have changed, but it is another signal that the Trump administration has not made global health a priority. While exact figures are not given for most global health accounts, this document has a recommended total of $6.8 billion (a 20% decrease from FY2016 levels) for global health programs at State and USAID (with $5 billion to State programs, including PEPFAR and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and $1.8 billion to USAID programs). The full budget is expected to be released in mid-May. Read the Foreign Policy article or Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis of the draft document.

Release of Mexico City Policy Guidance
The guidance on how the Mexico City Policy (also known as the Global Gag Rule) will be applied to global health assistance is expected to be released on May 1. It is expected that the policy will exempt The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; humanitarian assistance is also not likely to be included. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, foreign NGOs face losing approximately $8 billion in U.S. foreign assistance due to the policy. GHC will host a community discussion on the policy on May 10. For more information on the community meeting, please email advocacy@globalhealth.org.