Advocacy Update ~ November 6, 2017

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

Introduction of Congressional Resolutions to End AIDS in Children
The bipartisan, bicameral resolutions “Recognizing the importance of a continued commitment to ending pediatric AIDS worldwide,” were introduced late last month by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Casey (D-PA) and Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Barbara Lee (D-CA). These four members of Congress were joined by 27 bipartisan peers as original co-sponsors of the resolutions. In a press release statement, Charles Lyon, President and CEO of Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, said, “The introduction of these resolutions puts a spotlight on children and the global AIDS response, but also the important role Congress plays in ensuring that the burden of AIDS is ended in children once and for all.” Read EGPAF’s statement.

Redesign Consensus: A Plan for U.S. Assistance
As uncertainty surrounding proposed foreign aid cuts and redesign, or reorganization, of federal agencies still remains in the air, a number of development and foreign policy experts devised separate proposals on more effective organizational structures primarily focused on  USAID and the State Department and the efficient use of foreign assistance. Authors of six of these plans came together to create a unified approach to achieve an empowered U.S. development function. The “Redesign Consensus: A Plan for U.S. Assistance” is a unified set of practical recommendations and steps that the administration and Congress can take to strengthen effectiveness and coherence to the U.S. aid architecture. Read Redesign Consensus proposal.

USAID Administrator Testifies on Accountable Soft Power in the National Interest
In early November, USAID Administrator Mark Green testified before the House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs subcommittee in an oversight hearing on the role of soft power in national interests. With the President’s proposal of 30 percent budget cuts to foreign aid, the hiring freeze at USAID, and lack of focus and engagement in potential conflict zones, the committee reviewed the recent accountability of U.S. foreign affairs. A range of issues were covered, with only a few questions specifically on global health. Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) questioned the justification for the expansion of the Mexico City Policy to all global health programs, and asked Administrator Green for the data on the impact of the expansion. He indicated that USAID is currently working on a review of the first six months of the expanded policy, and would share the final report with Congress.

Global Health Security Agenda extended to 2024
In late October, during the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial meeting, partner countries, including the United States, agreed to extend the GHSA to 2024. The GHSA is a growing partnership of 50 nations, international organizations, and non-government stakeholders focused on building countries’ capacity to combat infectious diseases and to elevate global health security as a national and international priority. Learn more about GHSA.