Update: House panel sets disappointing funding levels for HIV & TB programs

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There was disheartening news from the House today, where a key spending subcommittee divvied up funding for foreign affairs and appears to have left vital programs to fight global HIV/AIDS and TB without the robust resources they need to maintain momentum in the battle against these two deadly epidemics.

Not all the details have been released yet, so the full impact of today’s action is still a bit murky. But here’s what we know, thanks in large part to an analysis from the Global Health Council:

*The House Appropriations subcommittee on foreign affairs agreed to a $100 million increase for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). This means a modest bump up to $5.259 billion–the same amount President Obama proposed—that would effectively stall the program at a critical juncture in the global fight against AIDS. The FY 2009 funding level was $5.159 billion.

*The panel approved a slight increase, of $100 million, in the US contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for a total of $700 million. That’s a bit better than the White House proposal, which called for no increase in the US contribution from this year’s level of $600 million, despite the fact that the Fund faces a $4 billion donation gap over the next two years. But it’s still far short of what’s needed. We hope that a second subcommittee—which oversees health and human services programs—will add significantly to the Global Fund’s pot.

*The US bilateral TB programs would get a boost under today’s House plan, for a total of $202 million. The House plan is above the president’s $173 million request and FY 2009’s $163 million level, but it’s well under the $650 million advocates say is necessary at time when drug-resistant TB is on the rise. (Editor’s Note: This TB info has just been updated. We had a different figure earlier, but new details have emerged about the bill and are reflected here.)

*Family planning programs would see a sizable jump under the House bill, which directed $648 million for those efforts. The president requested $545 million; the current funding level is $495 million. So, that’s a 30% increase over the  fiscal year 2009 level.

 

*Maternal and child health programs were increased by the Subcommittee, to a level of $528 million for FY 2010, just over the Obama request of $525 million.  The level approved reflects a 6.5% increase over the FY 2009 level of $495 million.

 

*Bilateral malaria programs receive a major boost, exactly in line with the President’s request.  The Subcomittee approved $585 million for these programs, a 53% increase over the fiscal year 2009 level of $382 million.

 

*Neglected tropical diseases programs also got an increase, though less than what President Obama requested.  In 2009 the budget included $25 million, and for 2010 the President requested $70 million, but the Subcomittee approved $50 million.

The Senate Subcomittee, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT),  will mark up its version of the foreign operations spending bill next month. We’ll be keeping tabs on the process and will try to post frequent updates.

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