House subcommittee spending bills save Fogarty, reject radical Trump global health cuts

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Subcommittees post bills that subcommittees will weigh today

With a $1.1 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health as well as an NIH budget that includes $73 million for the Fogarty International Center, and continued funding for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief at current levels, the two House funding subcommittees with jurisdiction over most global and domestic health programs posted bills Wednesday that maintain funding trends over recent years and reject the most devastating cuts to global infectious disease responses and research proposed by the Trump administration.

In a contentious budget climate, and in the face of a White House budget plan that included restricting global HIV responses to early PEPFAR levels, setting NIH funding back to 2002 levels and closing the 50-year-old biomedical research and training Fogarty International Center, all of that counts as welcome news to global health watchers who saw the potential in the Trump proposal for grave reversals of strides to strengthen worldwide health response and security capacities and end HIV as a worldwide public health threat.

The bills from the House Appropriations Labor, Health, and Human Services and  State and Foreign Operations subcommittees also maintain current funding levels for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria, and for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Global AIDS program — which had been slated for a 50 percent cut. In addition CDC funding maintains current support levels for the agency’s Global Health programs.

At the same time, the State and Foreign Operations bill also includes support for policies with the potential to greatly undermine advances against global infectious disease threats, confirming the  restriction of funding for family planning activities under an expanded Mexico City Policy, prohibiting funding to the United Nations Population Fund, and capping family planning and reproductive health programs at 2008 funding levels.

In addition, specific funding allocations for a number of USAID’s global infectious disease programs are not yet public. Stay tuned. We will continue to monitor developments as the bills move through the appropriations process.

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