Advocacy Updates ~ July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020

Congressional News

House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations

Last week, the House passed H.R. 7608, a minibus consisting of four fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills: State-Foreign Operations (SFOPs); Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA; Interior-Environment; and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. A full summary of the bill is available here. The bill provides $65.87 billion in funding, an increase of $8.467 billion over FY20 for SFOPs, including $10.018 billion in emergency funding for coronavirus preparedness, response, and relief globally.

House Financial Services Appropriations

The House Financial Services appropriations bill report included language recommending $12,500,000 for the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council to increase global health security activities. You can find the exact language on page 35 of the report. Please share any questions or comments about the report language by emailing:

Senate Emergency Supplemental Bill

After some delays, a draft of the Senate Republican majority proposal for the next COVID-19 emergency funding package is expected to be released early this week and serves as the benchmark for Republicans during upcoming negotiations. Advocates across the community have been highlighting the need for the bill to include foreign aid and global health funding. We have seen growing support for this, as proven by the recent Senate letter led by Senators Rubio and Cardin, and the companion letter in the House led by Representatives Frankel and Rooney, calling for a global response to COVID-19. Global Health Council will continue to advocate for at least $20 billion for international affairs funding, including global health and humanitarian assistance and encourages your organizations to continue to advocate for additional funding for the global response.

A Democratic bill to respond to the Senate Majority may be expected in the coming days. Vice Chairman Leahy stated recently, that: “On July 10, the House Appropriations Committee marked up its FY21 bill for the Department of State and Foreign Operations, which includes $10 billion in emergency funding for the international response to COVID-19. That is a good start, but it is too little.”

Senator Booker Leads WHO Support Letter to President Trump

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) led a letter with 33 of his colleagues urging President Trump to reverse his decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO). They warned in the letter that American withdrawal from WHO will upend efforts to implement a collective international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, inevitably put American lives and economic interests at risk, and undermine American leadership within the international community, while empowering China.

No WHO Withdrawal Act

Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the No WHO Withdrawal Act to prevent President Trump’s attempt to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization and prohibit congressionally appropriated funds from being used to execute a withdrawal. According to a Joint Resolution of Congress, the United States can withdraw from the WHO under two conditions: the United States must provide notice one year before withdrawing and must fulfill its financial obligations. Congress holds the constitutional power to prevent appropriated funds from being used to support the President’s unilateral decision. The No WHO Withdrawal Act would block funding for a U.S. withdrawal and assert that it is U.S. policy to continue to work within the WHO to reform and improve the organization.
The bill text is available here.

Administration News

Global Health Security Agenda Steering Group Statement

The State Department released a joint statement from the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Steering Group. According to the statement, “The United States remains firmly committed to achieving a world safer and more secure from infectious disease threats, and is proud to join the multisectoral and multi-stakeholder effort in achieving sustainable and measurable results toward GHSA 2024 targets for building and maintaining health security capacities.