Author: Elizabeth Kohlway

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Advocacy Update ~ December 18, 2017

Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

Just before the Continuing Resolution (CR) that was keeping the government open was set to expire on December 8, Congress passed another CR until December 22. The extension gives Congress additional time to reach a budget deal, at which point appropriators can finalize Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending bills, which will most likely happen in January. The additional time is needed as Congress continues to debate funding levels for non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending, and how much NDD spending should be raised in relation to the increase in defense spending.

While there have been calls for parity between defense and NDD spending, parity is a non-starter with Republicans and seems unlikely to happen. What is more likely to occur is that NDD could have a slight increase, although at this time it’s not clear by how much.  An increase in NDD funding would allow for global health programs within the International Affairs and Health accounts to be maintained at FY17 levels.

As of this writing (December 15), the House has released a bill that includes spending for defense for all of FY18 (at $640 billion) and to fund the rest of the government through a CR to January 19. However, the Senate is unlikely to pass this, and is likely to strip the defense spending out and pass a CR for all 12 appropriations bills. The pressure to pass the bill is increasing as sequestration goes into effect on January 19, which means automatic spending cuts for both defense and NDD.

In the midst of this, is the tax reform bill which if passed and Congress takes no additional action, could mean potential cuts to the programs down the road. This is a result of the Statutory Pay-as-You-Go Act of 2010 or Paygo, a law requiring legislation that adds to the deficit needs to cut federal spending.

In response to the budget debate, Global Health Council, with signatures from 50 organizations, sent a letter to Congressional leaders supporting the raising of the NDD spending cap as part of a FY18 budget deal, which would allow sustained funding of global health programs at a minimum of FY17 levels. Read the letter.

World AIDS Day Resolution

Following World AIDS Day, U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced a House Concurrent Resolution (H.Con.Res.96) to support the goals and ideals of this globally recognized day. The Resolution, which has 22 cosponsors, highlights the progress made thus far on reducing new HIV/AIDS infections and urges Congress to support the continued work of the HIV/AIDS movement. Read the resolution.

One Year Later

Global Health Council (GHC) President & Executive Director Loyce Pace pens a letter to the leadership of GHC member organizations recapping her first year at GHC.

December 1, 2016.

That was the day I started my tenure with Global Health Council as its new executive director. I didn’t quite know what to expect. The organization was due for an update of its strategic plan. At the same time, Washington had just been rocked by a shocking election result. We were also anticipating a change of the guard at WHO. I found myself asking what critical role GHC should play in the global health advocacy space and how effective we could be, ultimately. And I heard from you, as leaders of our member and partner organizations, where you see our value and why you have joined us.

We all had to dig a little deeply for a sense of optimism coming into 2017, given all the unknowns. I reflected often on being a so-called peacetime versus wartime CEO and implications of the latter, not only for GHC’s mission but our core purpose as a global health community. We are advocates at heart who are called to “find our fight” amidst a set of circumstances that certainly aren’t business as usual. Meanwhile, we have our pragmatic side: a small voice that wants to find some level of compromise and constructive engagement, which lends itself to incremental progress. I would say both have their place.

Of course, pushing back on bad policy and poor decision-making is essential. There were a number of disturbing events early on that we collectively opposed, the proposed federal budget being only one example. I was proud of our community for how fervently and vociferously we spoke up and out against drastic cuts. That wasn’t just the right thing to do; it was our only option. And we did it together, as one voice. GHC also expressed concern regarding an expansion of the Mexico City Policy and its impact on global health outcomes worldwide. And we challenged WHO on how it engages with non-state actors.

Equally important is for global health organizations to take a closer look at ourselves and make adjustments to how we do business. It could simply be a matter of changing how we talk about what we do, finding better language to describe the benefits of global health investments in terms of GDP or national security. This has resonated with multiple audiences. Likewise, identifying different messengers has proven valuable. But there’s a deeper evolution afoot: global health leaders are asking themselves what partners, programs, or protocols they must put in place to sustain the progress they’ve realized so far, perhaps without solid government funding and leadership. This is a shift I’ve come to realize Global Health Council can also help our community navigate and reconcile. Thus, our upcoming symposium.

As I look ahead to 2018, it seems we share a confidence that was lacking this time last year. Now, I have no doubt we will win critical battles. We’ll certainly continue to face challenges, but our community has grit and resilience that serve us well. We also use our resources to play both offense and defense in a way that is smart and thoughtful. An ideal path forward is one in which we are just as bold in advocacy as we are in innovation. I am grateful to our awesome community for teaching me the value of working along this spectrum during my first year, and look forward to even more lessons in the years to come.

Thank you for your support of GHC, and being part of our ongoing efforts to improve health worldwide.

Global Health Council 2017 Call to Action

Advocacy Update ~ October 23, 2017

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

Senate Passes Budget Resolution

Late last week the Senate passed a Budget Resolution, setting topline funding amounts for the appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, but similar to the House, the chamber really set up the vehicle for tax reform. The bill maintains spending at 2017 levels, but over the next ten years would cut nondefense spending, ending in 2027 with a $106 billion cut. For the International Affairs Budget, the bill contains $39.5 billion in base funding (the funding breakdown for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) between defense and international affairs was not specified).

Although the vote was along party lines (with all Democrats and Independents, along with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), voting no), some Republicans downplayed its importance. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) stated, “At the end of the day, we all know that the Senate budget resolution will not impact final appropriations.”

Congress has until December 8, when the Continuing Resolution (CR) expires, to work out a final spending bill for the eight remaining appropriations bills for the fiscal year.

Reach Act Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

In early October amidst the hustle and bustle of the budget resolution debates, U.S. Representatives David Reichert (R-WA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Daniel Donovan (R-NY) reintroduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (H.R. 4022) in the House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation aims to accelerate the reduction of preventable child, newborn, and maternal deaths, putting us within reach of the global commitment to end these deaths within a generation. The Senate reintroduced the Reach Act in August, which now has 14 cosponsors. Read GHC’s statement.

 

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESNTATIVES INTRODUCES LEGISLATION AIMED TO SAVE LIVES OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD

Washington, DC (October 13, 2017) – On October 10, Global Health Council (GHC) applauded U.S. Representatives David Reichert (R-WA), Betty McCollum (D-MN),Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Daniel Donovan (R-NY), who reintroduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (H.R. 4022) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation aims to accelerate the reduction of preventable child, newborn, and maternal deaths, putting us within reach of the global commitment to end these deaths within a generation.

“We are in reach of ending preventable maternal and child deaths—a great accomplishment in part due to U.S. leadership and investments in maternal and child health programs. Although we have drastically reduced the number of maternal, newborn, and child deaths, every day, 800 women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth and more than 16,000 children still die from preventable causes,” said Loyce Pace, GHC President and Executive Director. “The Reach Every Mother and Child Act is an important step to ensure that we end these preventable deaths within a generation.”

The Reach Act builds upon the success of such global health initiatives as PEPFAR and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and would enact key reforms that increase the effectiveness and impact of USAID maternal and child survival programs. The U.S. Senate reintroduced the Reach Act in August.

Specifically, the legislation would require a coordinated U.S. government strategy that addresses ending preventable child and maternal deaths, as well as institute reporting requirements to improve efficiency, transparency, accountability, and oversight of maternal and child health programs. In addition, it would establish the position of Child and Maternal Survival Coordinator at USAID and ensure that the return on U.S. investments are maximized through a scale-up of the highest impact, evident-based interventions. The legislation would also allow USAID to explore innovative financing tools.

The Reach Act is supported by more than 50 diverse non-profit and faith-based organizations working to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child mortality at home and abroad.

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About Global Health Council

Established in 1972, Global Health Council (GHC) is the leading membership organization supporting and connecting advocates, implementers, and stakeholders around global health priorities worldwide. GHC represents the collaborative voice of the community on key issues; we convene stakeholders around key priorities and actively engage with decision makers to influence global health policy. Learn more at www.globalhealth.org. Follow GHC on Twitter or “Like” us on Facebook for more information.

Media Contact

Elizabeth Kohlway
Communications & Member Engagement Manager
Global Health Council
(703) 717-5251

Civil Society Statement Recognizing the Role of Global Health in Development

Download PDF version of statement here.

As organizations that work around the world to ensure healthier, safer lives for all people, we join together to support sustained and strengthened U.S. commitment to global health.

Health is the backbone of strong and stable communities, which makes global health – in addition to humanitarian relief, democracy and governance, disaster assistance, agriculture development, and education – a critical component of how the United States engages with the world. By investing in global health and development, the United States helps to build healthier and more self-reliant communities, which are more economically and politically stable. U.S. leadership in global health is critical to reaching the finish line on bold global health initiatives.

Global health programs also are some of the greatest successes of U.S. foreign assistance, and have contributed to tremendous gains in health around the world, including a halving of preventable child deaths, a 60 percent decrease in deaths from malaria, and a 45 percent reduction in maternal mortality since 1990. They are also some of the most critical, putting the U.S at forefront of fighting future disease threats, building resilient health systems, and promoting global health security. Global health programs play an important role in meeting objectives across other evelopment priorities, as well, including food security and gender equality.

As the Administration considers the organization of the U.S. government, including international development and diplomacy operations, it is critical to recognize and sustain global health functions that support maternal and child health; HIV/AIDs; tuberculosis; malaria; neglected tropical diseases; family planning and reproductive health; water, sanitation, and hygiene; nutrition; noncommunicable diseases; research and development; workforce development; and global health security.

Any reorganization of U.S. foreign aid and diplomacy operations must prioritize:

Distinct and deliberate tracks for development and diplomacy. While development and diplomacy work hand-in- hand to promote our humanitarian and security interests, they offer different and unique perspectives on U.S. global engagement. U.S. global health efforts exemplify this distinction, as programs work to improve health in the most vulnerable populations worldwide, not just in those areas of strategic national interest. Accordingly, agenda-setting, priorities, and budgets for these two areas of foreign policy must remain distinct and deliberate.

Global health as a prominent and distinct feature of U.S. foreign aid and development. Global health is multi- faceted and cross-cutting – and one that is not confined to national borders, low economic or humanitarian development status, or emergency operations. For U.S. humanitarian and strategic objectives, it is just as important for global health efforts to address challenges stemming from a natural disaster as it is to target endemic health issues that may prevent a country from achieving growth and stability. It is critical that any redesign or restructuring of U.S. development and diplomacy programs maintains a prominent and distinct place for global health that recognizes and supports the diverse and cross-functional health challenges facing low- and middle-income countries.

Maintaining and supporting technical expertise in development, including global health. U.S. global health programs have a track record of success and high-impact because they are supported by strong and deep technical expertise at USAID and the State Department. To continue and build upon this legacy of success, it is vital to maintain and support technical experts for the full range of U.S. global health programs and priorities.

Global health is a critical component of U.S. development and diplomatic engagement, and must be sustained. As such, the unique attributes and value-add of global health programs must receive appropriate attention, and be included at the highest levels of strategic discussions on government organization.

We strongly urge any redesign plan to commit to continued U.S. leadership in global health and support and sustain the cross-cutting development and diplomatic initiatives that help people live longer, healthier lives.

Action Against Hunger Advocates for Youth ALIMA USA
American College of Cardiology American Heart Association American Public Health Association AVAC
CARE USA
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) CORE Group
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Elizabeth R Griffin Research Foundation
FHI 360
FIND
Frontline Health Workers Coalition
Fund for Global Health Georgia AIDS Coalition Global Health Council Global Health Strategies
Global Health Technologies Coalition
HarvestPlus
Health Systems Management Helen Keller International IMA World Health
Infectious Diseases Society of America
IntraHealth International Johns Snow, Inc. (JSI) Millennium Water Alliance MMV
Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Roundtable
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Council RESULTS Austin SPOON
TB Alliance
The American Academy of Pediatrics
The Hunger Project
Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
Washington Global Health Alliance
WaterAid
White Ribbon Alliance