Proposed Cuts & Policies in FY25 House SFOPS Bill Jeopardizes Global Health

June 12, 2024

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOPS) funding bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee this week falls woefully short of the resources needed to address current global crises. In addition, the bill’s prohibition of funding to the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund, and other UN agencies signals a retreat of U.S. leadership and influence on the world stage.

The bill includes significant reductions to the overall SFOPS topline from both the FY24 enacted funding levels (11%) and the President’s FY25 budget request (17%). At a time of growing health, humanitarian, and development crises, the proposed 8% ($762 million) reduction to global health programs, was especially troubling.

The bill includes:

  • $5.6 billion for PEPFAR, which is $400 million below the FY24 enacted level
  • $1.25 billion for the Global Fund, a 24% ($400 million) decrease from the FY24 enacted level, but 5% ($58 million) above the President’s FY25 budget request
  • $3.6 billion for programs to improve maternal and child health and fight infectious diseases, which would decrease funding by $362 million from the FY24 enacted level
  • Prohibition of funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund, and other UN agencies

The bill proposed a cut of $146.5 million (24%) to family planning and reproductive health, leaving only $461 million for these programs. Such a dramatic decrease would put women’s health at risk the world over. Adding to this already significant threat is the proposed codification of an expanded “Global Gag Rule,” now known as the “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy,” which prohibits U.S. funds from being used to perform, provide counseling, refer, or advocate for safe abortions. This would apply additional, unnecessary restrictions to all global health assistance.

Though Senate ratification may not be legally required for the U.S. to participate in a Pandemic Agreement, the bill prohibits funding to implement or support an agreement without it. Should the Biden Administration “sign, accept, or accede” to the Pandemic Agreement without Senate ratification, the proposed SFOPS bill blocks any funding for global health security programs to be obligated. Prohibiting participation in a Pandemic Agreement, or refusing to allocate global health security spending, would be catastrophic for the country and for the world. It jeopardizes our collective global health security and signals a retreat of U.S. global health leadership. 

At a time when the world is facing concurrent destabilizing events, and with the continued threat of emerging infectious diseases, now is not the time to diminish funding for global health programs. As the work to complete FY25 appropriations continues, Congressional policymakers must prevent the disastrous proposed cuts and policies included in the House bill. Any funding for FY25 must be additive to the enacted FY24 levels. We cannot afford to decrease global health funding any further without putting the health and well-being of people all over the world in jeopardy.