Advocacy Update ~ June 3, 2019

U.S. Appropriations Update

House Appropriations Committee Marks Up SFOPs bill

In mid-May, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOPs) bill, moving it a step closer to a vote on the House floor. The bill provides $54.6 billion for SFOPs with a breakdown of $48.4 billion in base funding and $8 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. This is a $2.2 billion (4%) increase over the enacted level for FY 2019, and demonstrates the bipartisan support these programs continue to receive. As mentioned in the last advocacy update, the bill includes an increase of almost $250 million to global health programs at USAID, and while PEPFAR funding at the State Department is flat, there is an increase of $210 million for the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

A number of global health accounts received increases over FY 2019 levels, including:

  • Maternal and Child Health: $850 million, an increase of $15 million, and includes $290 million for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
  • Tuberculosis: $310 million, an increase of $8 million
  • Family Planning and Reproductive Health: $750 million, an increase of $175 million. The bill also includes $55.5 million as the U.S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Funding for global health security programs at USAID received $100 million compared to $138 million in FY 2019. While this is a decrease, the FY 2019 level includes $38 million as a one-time transfer from remaining emergency Ebola supplemental funding.

While other programs received flat funding, in all cases proposed amounts are higher than the President’s recommendations.

The bill also includes a provision to permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy (renamed to Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance) and prohibits the use of current or prior SFOPs funds to implement it. During markup, Republicans offered an amendment to strip this language, stating that the president would veto any bill with it. The amendment failed along party lines.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sent a letter to Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) outlining its concerns with the SFOPs bill, including that the topline funding amount exceeds the President’s request and the inclusion of the policy provision repealing the Mexico City Policy.

The House will begin considering FY 2020 appropriations bills on the floor on June 12, but Majority Leader Steny Hoyer did not indicate in what order the bills will be considered. On June 4, the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) plans to markup its proposed bill for FY 2020.

GHC Funding Chart

SFOPs bill and bill report

Although appropriations bills are moving forward, a budget deal has still not been negotiated, complicating final passage of any spending bills. Congressional leaders and the White House have not yet reached consensus on a two-year deal to raise spending caps, allowing the passage of spending bills and avoiding a government shutdown. On October 1, the current budget deal is set to expire, and unless a deal is made to raise spending caps, defense and non-defense discretionary programs will face across-the-board funding cuts.

Admiral Tim Ziemer and Dr. Robert Redfield Will Appear at an Upcoming Hearing on Ebola

On  June 4 at 2:00 PM, Admiral Tim Ziemer of USAID and Dr. Robert Redfield of the CDC will appear before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Affairs to discuss lessons learned and advancements made in efforts to eradicate Ebola. Hearing Notice.

USAID Releases New Standard Provisions on Mexico City Policy

Following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement in March of a new interpretation of a technical clarification that was originally issued as part of the first review of the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA), also known as the Mexico City Policy, USAID last week released new standard provisions addressing this clarification. As noted in a previous advocacy update, according to PAI, the interpretation expands the reach of the MCP to “effectively prohibit a foreign recipient of U.S. global health funding from using its non-U.S. government assistance to support any kind of health or development work of a foreign partner, if that partner separately engages in abortion-related work with its own funding.”

Updated Standard Provisions for U.S. NGOs can be found here.

Updated Standard Provisions for Non-U.S. NGOs can be found here.

G7 Health Ministers Meet in Paris

On May 16, G7 Health Ministers met to discuss strengthening global primary health care systems. The Ministers made commitments to address gender equity in regards to accessing quality health care and to support the Global Fund in ending AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030. Additionally, the Ministers developed the G7 Primary Health Care Universal Knowledge Initiative which aims to foster idea-sharing and conversation between countries seeking to improve health systems.

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