The Senate version of the Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Bill for fiscal year (FY) 2012 slashes a line item for military HIV research by $16 million (see line 40 on page 165). Military HIV research funding sustains key facilities such as the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)/Walter Reed Program in Kericho, Kenya. This funding has supported and continues to fund critical HIV vaccine trials as well as research that is aimed at improving the standard of HIV care available in developing countries. The two-thirds funding reduction in this important program was included in the president’s budget request.
The House version of the bill does not include the cut, maintaining the program at the $22.796 million funding allocation it received in FY 2011. The two chambers will need to reconcile the issue in final budget negotiations in conference before the bill goes to the president’s desk.
In other appropriations news, as Science Speaks reported earlier, the Senate-passed appropriations bill would allocate $7.9 billion for global health programs for the 2012 fiscal year beginning October 1 – $810 million below what President Obama requested for these programs and about $75 million above current funding levels – according to a committee press release. This included $5.25 billion in funding for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – a cut of $90 million from FY 2011 levels – and $750 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – the same funding level from FY 2011. Global TB programs were also flat-funded at $225 million.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations proposed its FY 2012 spending bill in July that aims to cut global health program funding by $700 million from current funding levels. The bill proposes $7.1 billion in funding for the U.S. Global Health Initiative, which includes the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief bilateral AIDS program; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; global tuberculosis; the President’s Malaria Initiative; international family planning; neglected tropical diseases programs and an array of other programs, with no specified funding levels for any of these programs. Overall, the bill cuts foreign assistance by $3.5 billion. The full House Appropriations Committee has yet to vote on this bill.