Advocacy Update ~ March 4, 2019

Launch of the 2019 Global Health Briefing Book

On February 27, over 50 advocates met with 30 key congressional offices for the launch of Global Health Council’s 2019 Global Health Briefing BookA Guide to U.S. Investments in Global Health: Transforming Communities Worldwide. Following a day of Hill meetings, the global health expo, a showcase of interactive displays and items used in the field, was attended by over 100 advocates and congressional staff members. Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA) shared remarks regarding the importance of U.S. leadership in global health and development.

The briefing book, created in collaboration with the global health advocacy community, serves as an important resource documenting how global health work make a difference in people’s lives around the world. The briefs offer a set of recommendations to Congress on U.S. investments and programs that advance our collective goals.

While using the book in your advocacy efforts, tag @GlobalHealthOrg across social media platforms, and use the hashtag: #GlobalHealthWorks.


FY 2020: President’s Budget

Earlier reports had indicated that the President’s FY 2020 budget would be released in two parts in March, but new reports state that the full budget will be released on Monday, March 11.


Administrator Green Testifies Before House SFOPs Committee

On February 27, USAID Administrator Mark Green testified before the House Appropriations subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs). Because the President’s FY 2020 budget is not yet released, the hearing was focused on oversight of the agency.

While global health was not a primary focus, Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) raised questions regarding the expansion of the Mexico City Policy (also known as the Global Gag Rule) and the defunding of UNFPA under the Kemp-Kasten designation. Administrator Green stated that a report on the impact of the Mexico City Policy will be released in a few weeks; he frankly stated that the policy would not be reversed in this administration. In regards to the reprogramming of UNFPA funds, he said that FY 2017 funds were reprogrammed for bilateral voluntary family planning and maternal health programs, as well as addressing cervical cancer in Mozambique and Malawi. FY 2018 funds are still under review and Congress will be notified once a determination is made on how they will be reprogrammed.

Congresswoman Lee also addressed USAID’s move towards more country ownership particularly in regards to HIV/AIDS programming and if countries are prepared to do this. Administrator Green replied that they recognize there are challenges ahead but feel it’s an important step for countries to mobilize their own resources and take leadership.

Ranking Member Hal Rogers (R-KY) expressed disappointment that the President’s budget for FY 2020 is expected to once again cut funding to international development, despite Congress rejecting those cuts the past two years. He stated that USAID is critical to promoting national security.

Other topics addressed were the ongoing crisis in Venezuela as well as USAID’s work in Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, and other countries.

 

House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee First Hearing: U.S. Role in Global Leadership

Also on February 27, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations met with witnesses Heather Higginbottom, Chief Operating Officer of CARE USA, and Andrew Natsios, Director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs and Executive Professor at George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service, to discuss the U.S. role in global leadership.

In his opening statements, Chairman Ami Bera (D-CA) laid out the history of U.S. engagement in foreign assistance stating, “…the American presence, leading with our values and leadership in the seven years post-World War II, made the world a better place, made the world a safer place, made the world a more democratic place.” Understanding that diplomacy and democracy is shifting, Chairman Bera addressed the need to create a new vision for U.S. leadership in development and foreign assistance.

Chairman Bera stressed that foreign policymaking requires the Executive and Legislative branches to work in partnership, sending a message to the world that is free of ambiguity and that Americans should continue to be a leader in investing in global development, because of our values as a nation call us to do so.

Looking forward, the Chairman believes the U.S. has a strong role to play in global capacity-building as per conversations with USAID Administrator, Mark Green.

Members of the subcommittee asked detailed questions around U.S. military presence in Syria and specific programs supported by the U.S. to address humanitarian issues and extremism in Yemen, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.

Read witness testimony.

 

Global Health Security Roundtable Goes to Capitol Hill

Today, GHC’s Global Health Security Roundtable will meet with congressional offices to discuss funding for global health security programs, highlighting recent outbreaks and their impacts on the U.S.

 

Upcoming Advocacy Opportunities

In the upcoming months, GHC and members of the global health advocacy community will be on Capitol Hill, advocating for global health programs and educating members of Congress about our work. For more information, please email us at advocacy@globalhealth.org.

 

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

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