The House Appropriations Committee maintained funding for global HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and other global health programs while cutting domestic and global family planning and reproductive health funding and accepting the President’s request for global health security in Wednesday’s full committee votes on bills funding domestic and global health programs for the fiscal year beginning October 1.
The reports associated with the bills provided new details on funding levels, including proposed funding of $241 million for global tuberculosis, $755 million for malaria and $330 million for USAID’s HIV program. Together with the flat funding proposed for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,Tuberculosis and Malaria, the committee maintained the status quo for most global infectious disease programs, rejecting deep cuts proposed in the Administration’s budget.
The Committee also voted to support funding for CDC’s Center for Global Health programs at their current level of $435 million. A notable exception to the status quo was a significant cut in USAID’s global health security budget, slated for funding of $72.5 million, 50 percent below current funding. This includes $10 million for USAID’s emergency reserve fund, far below last year’s allocation of $70 million to rapidly respond to emergency global health threats.
During the markup Congresswomen Lowey and Lee offered amendments to strike the expansion of the Mexico City policy and the prohibition of funding for the UN Population Fund, which provides family planning services in three times as many countries as USAID. Congresswoman Lowey said the expansion of the Mexico City policy, which would prohibit any global health organization from receiving U.S. assistance if it uses non-U.S. funding on abortion services or counselling, will leave women more vulnerable to dying from preventable illnesses. “It is unconscionable to tie up $8.8 billion in global health assistance by inserting abortion politics into activities such as life-saving nutrition programs, efforts to prevent malaria, TB, and HIV,” she said. “What does child blindness have to do with reproductive health? Nothing,” she said. Both amendments were not approved by the Committee.
For more details on the budget, click here. The Labor-HHS-Education and State-Foreign Operations funding bills will now be scheduled for consideration on the House floor. Meanwhile the Senate funding subcommittees are not expected to consider their companion bills until the Senate returns from recess in early September.