Advocacy Update ~ July 1, 2019
House Passes Minibus Spending Package
On June 19, the House passed a minibus spending package (H.R. 2740). The spending package, which passed 226 to 203, includes the FY 2020 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs); Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS); Energy and Water; and Defense appropriations bills. None of the proposed SFOPs bill amendments that threatened to cut topline funding, including global health funding, for the SFOPs bill or that would reduce the funding for family planning and reproductive health programs, were included in the final package. President Trump indicated that he would veto the current bill as it stands, due to the increased spending levels in the bill, as well as a few provisions including a prohibition on using funds to build a border wall as well as language that prohibits the use of funds to implement the Mexico City Policy (also known as the Global Gag Rule).
Senate leadership is interested in reaching a deal that would raise spending caps prior to moving on any FY 2020 appropriations bills, and the hope is a deal can be reached before Congress recesses in August. Spending cap discussions have remained at a standstill over funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall and nondefense discretionary programs.
Senate Introduces Nutrition Resolution
On June 24, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a resolution (S.Res. 260) focused on the importance of continued U.S. leadership in addressing maternal and child malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries. The resolution, referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, aligns with a House resolution (H.Res. 189) introduced by Representatives Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) to strengthen U.S. support of USAID’s multi-sectoral nutrition strategy.
End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act Marked Up
On June 26, the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) marked up an updated version of the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act (H.R. 3460). The new bill does not include reporting requirements and the establishment of centers of excellence under the Department of Health and Human Services, both of which are in the original version of the bill (H.R. 826). The exclusion of this language makes passage of the legislation easier, as now only HFAC needs to consider the bill. If passed into law, this historic bill would be the first and only bill to address global neglected tropical diseases.
House Resolution Introduced to Recognize the Importance of Frontline Health Workers
On June 27, Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) introduced a resolution (H.Res. 467) to recognize the importance of frontline health workers in combating humanitarian and global health crises. The resolution, closely aligned with previous iterations, emphasizes the many ways health workers contribute to national security efforts and economic prosperity in the U.S. Additionally, the resolution highlights the frequency in attacks health workers in communities of conflict faced in 2018, as reported in a new publication released by the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition. The resolution calls for:
- Greater support for health workers, particularly those in conflict-affected communities who endure frequent attacks;
- U.S. agencies to implement cross-sectoral programming across global health accounts to strengthen local frontline health worker systems; and
- U.S. agencies to create opportunities between domestic and global frontline health workforce-strengthening programs for better outcomes and resource mobilization.
This post was written by Victoria Rodriguez, Advocacy Associate.