Senate follows House with President’s global HIV funding number, beats their TB number

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capitolfeaturedToday the Senate Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations followed the House’s example by adopting the President’s fiscal year 2014 funding request for global HIV/AIDS programs, allocating $4.02 billion for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and $1.65 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.  The bill also provides $330 million for USAID’s HIV/AIDS programs, in line with the President’s request.

Unlike the President’s request, the Subcommittee provides $225 million for assistance to combat global tuberculosis, while the President’s request allocated $191 million.  The Senate amount is still a cut compared to the FY 2012 level of $236 million, and is still less than the FY 2013 continuing resolution amount of $235.3 million for global TB.

The Senate bill provides less money for malaria programs, at $667 million, compared to the President’s request of $670 million.  Both figures, however, are above the FY 2012 level of $650 million.

The House bill did not specify funding amounts for many global health programs, including tuberculosis and malaria programs, instead providing a larger funding number and leaving discretion to the Administration to allocate funding among specific programs.

The Senate also differed from the House on family planning funding, providing $669.5 million for family planning programs, including $39.5 million for the UN Population Fund.  This represents a significant increase over current funding for reproductive health that stands at $598 million and an increase over the President’s recommended funding level for FY 2014 of $635.4 million.

The House bill provides $461 million for family planning, and denies funding for the UN Population Fund, and reinstates the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits U.S. assistance to foreign nongovernmental organizations that offer abortion counseling and services. The Senate bill contains no such provision. The Senate bill also restores funding for international organizations and programs cut from the House bill, such as funding for UNICEF and the UN Development Program, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Overall, the Senate bill is $10 billion above the House bill in funding for foreign assistance.

During the Subcommittee meeting on the bill, Ranking Member Senator Lindsey Graham explained, “What we’re doing in Africa…to eradicate AIDS and malaria, is going to pay dividends for us as a nation, and is going to create economic opportunity, so I know we’re financially challenged but we cannot withdraw from the world.”

Despite these sentiments and the Administration’s release of the Blueprint for an AIDS-Free Generation, funding for PEPFAR remains the lowest it’s been in four years.

For further details on global health and other foreign assistance funding, see the summary provided by the Senate Appropriations Committee here.

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