Advocacy Update ~ March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020

Access GHC’s COVID-19 information page here. There you will find information on the U.S. and global response, links to advice for individuals and employers, guidance for implementing organizations, and news and updates from CDC and WHO.

Congressional Updates

House Introduces W-GDP Act to Empower Women

A bipartisan coalition in the House introduced H.R. 6117, the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Act, legislation to promote the empowerment, economic self-sufficiency, and prosperity of women globally. 

  • On March 10, the House Committee on Agriculture marked up H.Res. 189, recognizing the importance of sustained U.S. leadership to accelerating global progress against maternal and child malnutrition and supporting USAID’s commitment to global nutrition, as well as H.Res. 742, recognizing the continued success of the Food for Peace Act.

Additional Recently Introduced Legislation

  • S. 3424, A bill to end preventable maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity in the United States and close disparities in maternal health outcomes, was introduced on March 11. Senator Harris (D-CA) is the lead sponsor of the bill.
  • H.R. 6173 was introduced to require group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage to cover COVID-19 testing without cost sharing. The bill is sponsored by Representative DeGette (D-CO). S. 3442 is the Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Senator Booker (D-NJ).
  • H.R. 6165 was introduced to improve data collection with respect to maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity. The bill is sponsored by Representative Davids (D-KS).
  • H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Act, passed both Chambers and was signed into law by President Trump on March 18. A summary of the bill can be found here.

Recent Hearings

Other Updates

Nominations News

  • The White House nominated Admiral Brett Giroir to serve as the U.S. representative to the World Health Organization Executive Board.
  • USAID Administrator Mark Green plans to resign on April 10. The White House has nominated John Barsa to serve as Acting Administrator. On March 20, Alma Golden was confirmed as Assistant Administrator for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Other Information

In response to a bicameral, bipartisan congressional request for more information about the scope and impact of the 2017 expanded Mexico City Policy (renamed to Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance), that requires foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to agree not to perform or promote abortion as a condition for receiving U.S. global health assistance, on March 18, GAO issued a report: Global Health Assistance: Awardees’ Declinations of U.S. Planned Funding Due to Abortion-Related Restrictions. The policy applied to over 1,300 global health projects as of September 2018, with an estimated $12 billion in planned U.S. assistance. The report found 54 instances in which NGOs did not accept the policy, resulting in about $150 million in declined funding. These awards span a wide range of countries and global health issues, including family planning/reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, nutrition, and maternal and child health. Although this report provides an initial scope of the policy, we expect a follow up study to address the most significant impacts on U.S. global health programs.


This post was written by Rebecca Daedalus, Advocacy & Community Partnerships Coordinator, and Kiki Kalkstein, Director of Advocacy and Engagement.