Congress Funds Government until December 11 and Goes Home to Campaign—PEPFAR, Tuberculosis and Global Fund held at Current Levels

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Capitol1118Congress adjourned for seven weeks after completing action on a stopgap funding bill to keep the government running until December 11th with debate largely focused on the bill’s authorization of the President’s plan to train and equip Syrian rebel groups to mount an offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).  Despite concerted efforts by global AIDS advocates and six Senators to persuade Senate appropriators to move $300 million of uncommitted funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to the PEPFAR program, the funding bill is silent on this point and includes $4.02 billion for PEPFAR, $1.65 billion for the Global Fund and $236 million for global tuberculosis—essentially a continuation of current spending for these programs.

If a global infectious disease was on the minds of policymakers during this legislative effort, that disease was Ebola and the funding bill does contain $88 million to scale up research on drugs and vaccines to respond to the outbreak and funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to the West Africa crisis.  A much larger share of the US response to Ebola will come from budget transfers within the Pentagon.

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