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Advocacy Update ~ October 9, 2018

This post was written by Victoria Rodriguez, Advocacy Associate, and Danielle Heiberg, Senior Manager, Policy & Advocacy.

Appropriations Update

Determined to get the appropriations process back on track this year, Congress passed and the President signed five of the 12 appropriations bills before the end of the Fiscal Year (FY) on September 30. On September 28, the President signed an appropriations minibus that includes the Labor, Health and Human Services and Defense spending bills, as well as a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds remaining appropriations bills, including the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) bill, until December 7. The differences in the House and Senate versions of the FY 2019 SFOPS appropriations bill, which funds global health programs at USAID and the State Department, will be worked out in conference during the next few months. Votes on the remaining appropriations bills are expected to occur in a lame duck session after the midterm elections.

BUILD Act on the Move

The FAA Reauthorization Act, which includes the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (H.R. 5105/S. 2463), also known as the BUILD Act, passed in the House and Senate.

The BUILD Act is aimed to assist economic growth in developing countries through U.S. business investments and will create the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), assuming the activities of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USAID’s Development Credit Authority, USAID’s Enterprise Funds, and other programs.

The IDFC will have broad authority to perform multiple tasks, some of which include issuing direct loans, providing technical assistance, and assisting in making limited grants to unlock larger investments. Under the BUILD Act, the IDFC will prioritize projects in low- and lower-middle-income countries where it furthers U.S. national security and economic interests.

In a joint press statement released by the Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE), cosponsors of the Senate bill, Senator Corker stated, “Our legislation will advance American interests for stability abroad by using the free-market to help countries become more self-reliant and put U.S. foreign aid programs out of business.” Senator Coons added, “The bipartisan BUILD Act will create a 21st century development finance institution with the full suite of tools to bring U.S. private sector investment to low income countries around the world. These new investments will reduce poverty in countries that are critical to our national security while helping U.S. businesses grow and succeed.”

The President is expected to sign the FAA reauthorization and BUILD Act bill in the next few days.

PEPFAR Reauthorization Passes Out of Committees

In late September, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) passed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Reauthorization bill (S. 3476/H.R. 6651), which will extend programmatic funding until 2023. During markup, HFAC amended its bill to address the omission of the set aside for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) impacted by HIV/AIDS, which had been included in PEPFAR law since 2003. Floor votes on the bill are anticipated to occur after midterm elections in November.

On September 27, during the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary Pompeo announced the release of 2018 Progress Report on the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control (2017-2020).

Administration Transferred Crucial HHS Funds

In September, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar sent a letter to Congress detailing his intention to transfer up to $266 million from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) accounts that support health, education, and research programs—some of which include programs led by the CDC and NIH—to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to cover costs associated with caring for unaccompanied children crossing the border.

Accounts that we know are affected include:

1.) $16.7 million from CDC overall

 a. )$1.9 million from NCEZID
b.) $1.286 million from CDC Global Health

i. $436,000 Global HIV/AIDS
ii. $597,000 polio
iii. $170,000 measles
iv. $83,000 parasitic diseases and malaria

2.) $87.269 million from NIH overall

a.) $12.123 million from NIAID, incl. $235,000 universal flu vaccine
b.) $178,000 from Fogarty
c.) $1.744 million from NCATS

While the transfer is fait accompli, GHC is circulating an organizational sign on letter to Secretary Azar expressing our concerns about the precedent set by these transfers, and the impacts they have on global health long term.

If you are interested in signing on, please email advocacy@globalhealth.org for a copy of the letter. Deadline is Wednesday, October 10.

 

 

Washington, DC Advocacy Groups Commend National Governments for Committing to Reduce the Noncommunicable Disease Burden Worldwide

New York, NY (September 27, 2018) – Global Health Council (GHC) and the Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Roundtable, welcomes today’s High-Level Meeting (HLM) on NCDs and commends governments for reaffirming their commitments to reducing the burdens of NCDs, including the long overdue commitment to address mental health, and the recognition that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Ultimately, the value of this meeting will be demonstrated by the actions governments, donors, and civil society take to accelerate implementation.

“The burden of NCDs in low- and middle-income countries is growing, and it is critical that we stand with people living with NCDs to ensure they have access to necessary services and support,” stated Loyce Pace, Global Health Council President and Executive Director. “This convening offers an opportunity for countries to reaffirm their commitment to prevent and control NCDs, with a particular focus on affected communities with limited resources.”

GHC and the NCD Roundtable call for an emphasis on expanding coverage, to ensure that all people–including the poorest and most marginalized–benefit from prevention and are able to seek treatment and care. This will require greater multisectoral collaboration across public and private entities, as well as looking at other sectors, including technology and finance, to realize solutions. There must be clear targets and strong financial commitments to reach those implementation goals, requiring transparency and accountability from all stakeholders. This is not just a matter of principle; it is necessary to ensure sustainable economic development, as indirect and direct costs related to NCDs cripple productivity and threaten economies at all income levels.[i]

“This meeting is important because it will provide an opportunity for senior U.S. officials to join other leaders from around the world in recommitting to reducing the global burden of NCDs, which takes a toll on public health, on families and communities, and on economies,” stated Aaron Emmel, NCD Roundtable Co-Chair and Manager of Global Health Advocacy Initiatives at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In addition to adopting the commitments stated in the Political Declaration, we urge governments to continue to work towards:

1.) Concrete global and national targets with mechanisms for accountability. Targets and action steps should be aligned as closely as possible with those emerging from the HLM on Tuberculosis, which took place on September 26. We believe there is still more work to do in this regard.

2.) Meaningful civil society engagement. We strongly support OP16 in the Political Declaration and believe governments, civil society (including patient and family advocacy groups, nonprofit organizations, academia, health professional associations, and faith-based organizations), and for-profit companies all have a stake in reducing the burden of NCDs.

3.) Adoption of a life-course approach. The support for a life-course approach is significant and must be supported in programs and funding. Although there are no age restrictions in the UN Sustainable Development Agenda’s target for NCDs, the World Health Organization’s attention to premature deaths from NCDs focuses solely on the 30-70 age range. This excludes millions of children, adolescents and young people who live with or are affected by NCDs, and many die prematurely or suffer long-term disabilities as a result. We will not be able to meet our global commitments, or sustain them, until this is corrected.

“Just as importantly, this is a call to action—to build up our health systems and turn those commitments into practical, sustained work on the ground that reaches the people who have been left out for so long,” said Emmel. “What’s significant about this meeting is that governments are agreeing to new approaches: to tackling mental health, to recognizing the importance of access to prevention and health services starting with children and across people’s lives, to listening to patients and making them partners in care, and to paying attention to the role of our environments on health. These insights all require a new way of working, and there’s a way for every sector of society to be involved, including with adequate budgets and strong political will from our governments.”

Addressing and incorporating these priorities are critical to reducing the number of NCD-related deaths and achieving universal health coverage, especially in low- and middle-income countries. GHC and the NCD Roundtable look forward to working together in continued collaboration with public and private entities to help people lead healthier, longer lives and reduce the toll NCDs take on our global economy.

[i] Council on Foreign Relations. The Emerging Global Health Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases in Low-and Middle-Income Countries. New York: Council on Foreign Relations. 2014. Page 38.

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About the NCD Roundtable

The NCD Roundtable is a diverse coalition of over 60 organizations, including NGOs representing development and humanitarian settings, professional associations, academic institutions and companies, united to raise awareness and address the rising incidence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the developing world. Learn more at www.ncdroundtable.org.

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.

 

Advocacy Update ~ September 10, 2018

This post was written by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Manager, Policy & Advocacy, and Victoria Rodriguez, Advocacy Associate.

OMB Rescinds Prospective Rescissions Package

After considerable push-back, the administration did not send a newly proposed rescissions package to Congress. The package was expected to target appropriated but unobligated funding from the International Affairs budget. Although global health programs were not expected to be targeted, the proposed cuts to other development areas, including UN programs, would have had an impact across the development community. If the rescissions package had been sent to Congress, it was unclear if the administration had legal authority to do so, as it would have been released with fewer than 45 days remaining in the fiscal year. While it seems that there will not be another push to rescind funding in the remaining days of this fiscal year, we should expect the administration to continue to target the International Affairs budget.

 

Appropriations Update

Last week, the House returned from August recess and in the short time remaining before the end of the fiscal year (FY), Congress will continue work on FY 2019 appropriation bills. Congress hopes to pass nine of the 12 spending bills as “minibuses” – several spending bills packaged together – this month. It will need to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the remaining agencies open. A CR is expected to last until after the midterm elections, but could go until December. . While President Trump has threatened to shut down the government over funding for a border wall, he has backed off on carrying out this threat until after the elections. The State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) appropriations bill, which funds global health programs at USAID and the State Department, is not expected to pass this month.

In late August, the Senate passed a minibus that includes the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill – which contains funding for programs at NIH and CDC– and Defense. The bill is now in the House of Representatives for a vote, and GOP conferees who will participate in the conference committee to negotiate any differences have recently been announced.

 

Community sign on letter to Congress supporting FY 2019 funding levels

While FY 2019 appropriations are being finalized, GHC is working with the global health advocacy community to complete funding recommendations for FY 2020 for review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The global health advocacy community is urging the U.S. to remain committed to investing in and supporting critical, cost-effective global health programs.

 

Looking Ahead to the 116th Congress

With the midterm elections just around the corner, GHC has started preparations for the 116th Congress and the new members and staff expected to arrive on Capitol Hill in January. GHC, in coordination with the global health advocacy community, is working on the next version of the Global Health Briefing Book, which will launch at an event on Capitol Hill early next year. More details will be forthcoming, and we hope you will join us for the Hill Day and global health expo planned for the launch. For more information: advocacy@globalhealth.org.

Advocacy Update ~ August 20, 2018

This post was written by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Manager, Policy & Advocacy, and Victoria Rodriguez, Advocacy Associate.

President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Reauthorization Bill

On August 3, Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), with Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Karen Bass (D-CA) as additional cosponsors, introduced the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018 (H.R. 6651). The bill reauthorizes the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through 2023 and upholds the United States’ commitment to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In a press release, Representative Lee stated, “For the last 15 years, PEPFAR has been a testament to the bipartisan cooperation on U.S. leadership in global public health. Thanks to PEPFAR, millions of lives have been saved through HIV/AIDS treatment, care, and education. But our work is far from over – we are at a tipping point and Congress must recommit to this fight…I am so proud of our work across the aisle, ensuring that PEPFAR can continue to save lives for decades to come.”

GHC Executive Director Loyce Pace welcomed the legislation, stating, “Over the past 15 years, PEPFAR has had an impact on the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS, as well as building health systems to address malaria, TB, and maternal and child health. By renewing our commitment to this groundbreaking initiative, we emphasize its value and pave the way for even more global health progress worldwide.”

Read GHC’s full statement here.

 

OMB Expected to Send Rescissions Package to Capitol Hill

It is expected that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will send a new rescissions proposal to Capitol Hill sometime between now and the end of the fiscal year (FY), on September 30. The rescissions package is expected to target unobligated funds from FY 2017 and FY 2018, and which expire at the end of FY 2018, and could disproportionately impact the International Affairs Budget.

The timing of a new rescissions package is a bit of political maneuver on the part of the administration. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act states that Congress has 45 legislative days to act on a rescissions proposal, and during this time funding targeted for rescission is impounded, meaning it cannot be spent. If Congress fails to act within the 45 days, impounded funds are released. By timing a rescissions package with fewer than 45 days remaining in the fiscal year and by targeting expiring funds, the administration is essentially forcing Congress to take action to prevent the funds from expiring and returning them to the U.S. Treasury. It is unclear if Congress will take up the rescissions package with a busy schedule planned for September, including the FY 2019 appropriation bills in both chambers and the Supreme Court nomination in the Senate.

GHC will continue to monitor any proposed rescissions and will provide updates as needed.

For more information on the rescission process, please refer to our Rescission FAQ.

 

Appropriations Update

Both House and Senate State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) and Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations subcommittees have marked up their bills for FY 2019.

The Senate returned from a short recess on August 15 to resume work on the appropriation bills. The Senate is debating a “minibus”–several appropriation bills packaged together–which could contain the LHHS bill. Senate leadership believes a majority of the appropriation bills will be passed by the end of August, but could still leave other bills, like SFOPS, on the table. The House returns from August recess on September 4 and will have a little under two weeks to come to a decision on the bills prior to the end of FY 2018. If Congress has not enacted the bills in time, a continuing resolution will be needed to keep the government open.

As FY 2019 appropriations are being decided, GHC is also working with the greater global health community to complete funding recommendations for FY 2020 which will be delivered to OMB in the next few weeks.

Please refer to our previous Advocacy Update for highlights on each appropriations bill.

 

Global Health Security Simulation on Capitol Hill

In July, GHC in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, NTI | bio, and PATH hosted Clade X: A Global Health Security Simulation for Congressional staff to demonstrate the need for continued support to prevent serious infectious disease threats. The simulation—an abridged, modified version of the original day-long Clade X pandemic exercise designed and hosted by the Center for Health Security—was conducted to highlight the necessity for effective preventive interventions and the importance of accountability of government agencies during global health crises. The exercise gave Congressional staff a window into the choices government leaders must make during a pandemic and highlighted the need for the U.S. to play a leadership role in the global health security community. Read more.

Global Health Council (GHC) Welcomes Legislation Extending PEPFAR

WASHINGTON, DC (August 9, 2018) – This week, Global Health Council welcomed the introduction of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Extension Act of 2018 on Friday, August 3 by the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation, sponsored by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Karen Bass (D-CA), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Eliot Engel (D-NY), reauthorizes PEPFAR for five years and reaffirms the bipartisan support and commitment to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“We know that investments in global health work, and PEPFAR is a prime example of that,” stated Loyce Pace, President and Executive Director of Global Health Council. “Over the past 15 years, PEPFAR has had an impact on the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS, as well as building health systems to address malaria, TB, and maternal and child health. By renewing our commitment to this groundbreaking initiative, we emphasize its value and pave the way for even more global health progress worldwide.

Since its inception, PEPFAR has supported HIV treatments for more than 13.3 million people around the world, and has put us in reach of an AIDS-free generation with more than 2.2 million babies born HIV-free.

Global Health Council looks forward to working with policymakers and community stakeholders toward the goal of an AIDS-free generation.

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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.

Media Contact

Elizabeth Kohlway
Senior Manager, External Affairs and Operations
Global Health Council
(703) 717-5251