Advocacy Update ~ May 13, 2019

FY 2020 Appropriations
It has been a busy two weeks on Capitol Hill as the House began work on Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills, including State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs) and Labor, Health and Human Services and Related Programs (LHHS), and released the 302(b) allocations, which set the spending levels for individual subcommittees. Over in the Senate, USAID Administrator Mark Green appeared before both the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on SFOPs and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the President’s FY 2020 Budget Request for USAID.

302(b) Allocations
On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved a total of $1.295 trillion in discretionary funding for the 12 appropriations bills. SFOPs received a $2.4 billion (5.2%) increase over the FY 2019 level to $48.381 billion. LHHS also received an increase to $189.876 billion, a $12 billion (7.2%) increase over the FY 2019 level. Read the House Appropriations Committee Press Release.

Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill Advances
Also on Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee advanced the FY 2020 LHHS bill, which includes funding for NIH and CDC, and which had been marked up in subcommittee the week prior. The legislation was passed 30-23, with votes along the party-line. Both NIH and CDC received $2 billion and $960 million increases respectively over FY 2019 enacted levels. This includes increases to key accounts that found global health, including: $25 million for the CDC Center for Global Health; $24.25 for CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases; $285 million to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, and $6.8 million to Fogarty International Center also at NIH.

Summary of Bill Text
Bill Text and Bill Report

State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill Marked Up in Subcommittee
On Friday, the House Appropriations subcommittee on SFOPs marked up the FY 2020 legislation to fund programs and operations at the State Department and USAID. The subcommittee agreed to the $54.6 billion bill by voice vote. The bill includes an increase of almost $250 million to global health programs at USAID, including a $175 million increase to family planning programs. While funding for PEPFAR is maintained at FY 2019 levels, the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is increased to $1.56 billion ahead of this year’s replenishment.

Also included in the bill is language to permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy (Global Gag Rule) and prevents current or previous funding to be used to implement the policy. While Republicans are supporting of the funding levels in the SFOPs bill, they continue to fight efforts to overturn Mexico City Policy.More information on funding levels will be available when the full committee releases its report (likely this week).

“Five Things to Know About U.S. Global Health Funding for FY 2020” – read more about FY 2020 global health funding in a blog on Global Health NOW by GHC’s Danielle Heiberg, Katie Coester (Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDs Foundation), and Emily Conron (Global Health Technology Coalition).

USAID Administrator Appears Before Senate Committees
USAID Administrator Mark Green continues to make the rounds of Congressional Committees, appearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on SFOPs and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the last two weeks. Administrator Green continues to answer questions on the President’s FY 2020 Budget Request for USAID. Similar to previous hearings, Senators continue to express concerns over the deep cuts proposed in the President’s proposed budget. SFOPs Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was quite frank in what he thought of the President’s budget: “We’re not going to approve this budget reduction. It’s insane. It makes no sense.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Webcast
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on SFOPs Webcast

Trump Administration Releases Global Health Security Strategy
Late last week, the White House released its Global Health Security Strategy (Strategy), which sets out the actions the administration will take “to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.” The Strategy will complement the National Security Strategy, the National Biodefense Strategy, and the executive order on “Advancing the Global Health Agenda to Achieve a World Safe and Secure from Infectious Disease Threats,” to ensure federal agencies are working to protect the United States and its partners from infectious disease threats.

Read the White House Press Release

Senator Menendez Introduces Ebola Eradication Act
Last week, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) the Ebola Eradication Act of 2019 which “specifically authorizes USAID to provide assistance aimed at improving access to communities affected by Ebola” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has claimed over 1,000 lives. The legislation comes in response to the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) which ranks (DRC) as a Tier 3 country. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a Tier 3 country may be subjected to sanctions for not meeting minimum standards to combat human trafficking. Last year, the Trump administration cut off most assistance to DRC because of its Tier 3 ranking.

Upon introduction Senator Menendez stated, “The lack of clarity from the White House on which activities should be restricted due to TIP sanctions is preventing USAID from executing a strategy which would help save lives in DRC, and prevent this outbreak from becoming a massive epidemic like the one in West Africa in 2014.  This common sense legislation makes clear that USAID can legally move forward with assistance to combat the Ebola outbreak…” Read the full press release from Senator Menendez.

 

This post was written by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Manager, Policy & Advocacy

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