Advocacy Update: Top Things to Know This Week

February 15, 2023

President Biden’s budget expected March 9

In a memo to Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young announced that President Biden’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Budget would be released on March 9. The release of the President’s budget request officially kicks off appropriations negotiations. House Republicans are expected to produce a budget by April. Complicating annual appropriations conversations are ongoing negotiations around increasing the debt ceiling to avoid U.S. default on its debt. In exchange for raising the debt ceiling, House Republicans are seeking cuts for discretionary spending.

End Tuberculosis Now Act Reintroduced

On February 9, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) in re-introducing the End Tuberculosis Now Act, comprehensive bipartisan legislation that aims to strengthen and streamline U.S. efforts in the global fight to end TB worldwide by 2035. A copy of the End TB Now Act can be found here. GHC endorsed the reintroduction of the End Tuberculosis Now Act in 2022 to bolster U.S. assistance in ending TB as a threat to global health security.

Report of the Review Committee on IHR amendments released 

On February 6, a report of the Review Committee regarding amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) was released. The sole purpose of this Review Committee is to provide technical recommendations to the WHO Director-General on amendments proposed by State Parties to the IHR, as decided by the Health Assembly in Decision WHA75(9). A final package of targeted amendments will be presented by the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations for consideration by the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly in 2024.

Secretary Blinken Convenes Fourth COVID-19 Global Action Plan Ministerial

On February 8, Secretary Blinken hosted a fourth and final Ministerial to conclude the work of the Global Action Plan (GAP) focused on the acute needs of the pandemic, identify remaining barriers, and look toward the future to promote collaboration on preventing, detecting, and responding to the next global health threat. During the Ministerial, partners took the opportunity to review the accomplishments of the GAP while also calling for continued work to integrate COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, into each country’s national vaccine strategy and noted that more needs to be done to address equitable access, including to diagnostic testing, oral antivirals, and medical oxygen among other things.

2022 CDC Global Annual Report released

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s global health report, CDC Advances Health Equity Around the World, highlights the agency’s work and commitment to strengthening global health equity among partner countries to prevent, prepare for, and respond to infectious disease threats. In 2022, the CDC launched the Global Health Equity Strategy that focuses on initiatives and interventions that eliminate health disparities and ensures all nations have the core public health capabilities and the health systems in place to protect the most vulnerable populations. 

Democrats announce members to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for the 118th Congress

On January 31, Ranking Member Gregory W. Meeks welcomed 24 Democratic Members to the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), including five new members joining the Committee for the 118th Congress. Rep. Meeks (D-NY) also announced Democratic subcommittee rosters on February 8. Below is the Democratic roster for the Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations:

  • Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), Ranking Member 
  • Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA)
  • Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA)
  • Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC)

McConnell Announces Senate Republican Committee Assignments for the 118th Congress

On February 1, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the Senate Republican Conference Committee Assignments for the 118th Congress. All assignments can be viewed here.

Joint Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee and Health Subcommittee Hearing on COVID-19 Response held

On February 8, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Rep/ Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) held a joint hearing of the Oversight and Investigations and Health subcommittees to examine and discuss the past, present, and future federal response to COVID-19. The recording of the hearing along with the hearing memo and Chair Rodgers, Griffith’s, and Guthrie’s opening statement can be found here.

World Bank announces Pandemic Fund Technical Advisory Panel

The World Bank announced the members of the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) of the Pandemic Fund, chaired by the Dr. Mike Ryan of the World Health Organization (WHO) with Joy St. John of the Caribbean Public Health Agency serving as Vice Chair. The TAP is comprised of 21 diverse multidisciplinary experts, will provide technical advice to the Pandemic Fund. It will also support the Pandemic Fund with its goal of financing projects and activities that help strengthen capacity building and implementation of pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response under the International Health Regulations and other internationally endorsed legal frameworks, consistent with a One Health approach. On February 3, the Pandemic Fund Governing Board approved $300 million in financing for its first round of funding to help developing countries better prepare for and respond to future pandemics. 

Gavi names new CEO

On February 13, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance announced the appointment of Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate as its new CEO. Dr. Pate previously served as Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health between 2011 and 2013 where he led a flagship initiative to revive routine vaccinations and primary health care, chaired a presidential task force to eradicate polio and introduced new vaccines into the country. Dr. Seth Berkley will continue to serve as CEO until August 2, 2023, while working with incoming CEO Dr. Pate to ensure a smooth transition.