Monday, December 17, 2007

Congressional Conferees Raise the Bar

The House and Senate foreign operations conferees report that was presented today, Dec. 17, supports the Global Health Council's advocacy agenda to increase U.S. global health investments in several core programs. The additional funding for maternal and child health programs, nearly $100 million over the FY2007 level, is particularly gratifying given the Council's work on this issue over the year.

"We know that we can save millions of children's and mothers' lives if we invest in the proven interventions already available to us," said Dr. Nils Daulaire, president of the Global Health Council. "In this very difficult budget environment, it is gratifying to see that the grassroots work of our members and regular advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill have been well received by members of Congress from both houses and both sides of the aisle who are committed to supporting these critical issues. We are particularly grateful for the leadership of global health champions like Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Rep. Nita Lowey of New York."

The House and Senate foreign operations conferees report puts funding levels for global health priorities - including HIV/AIDS programs, tuberculosis, maternal health child survival - at an increase of about $1.8 billion over this year for fiscal year 2008 (FY08).

The global health appropriations presented by House and Senate foreign operations conferees include:
  • Maternal and child health programs, including delivery of interventions to save newborn lives, will receive an increase of more than $90 million, bringing the total U.S. investment in its USAID-funded programs to $450 million;
  • Family planning programs, both USAID bilateral spending and contributions to multilateral agencies, will receive an increase of approximately $24 million in FY08, bringing spending up to $425 million;
  • USAID's programs to combat tuberculosis (TB) will receive an increase of approximately $74 million, bringing total TB spending up to $153 million;
  • Malaria programs, including the President's Malaria Initiative, will see an increase of $100 million, bringing the total to $350 million;
  • The Global HIV/AIDS Initiative spending for both the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and multilateral spending through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, will see an increase of approximately $1.5 billion, bringing total spending up to $4.7 billion. USAID's global AIDS programs saw a decrease in appropriations from $594 million in 2007 to $350 million for FY08;
  • Spending on avian influenza will increase to a total of $115 million;
  • U.S. investment in neglected tropical diseases remains steady at $15 million for FY08.
The proposed spending on foreign operations measures is part of an 11 bill omnibus congressional lawmakers released over the weekend. The measure, which includes budgets for each Cabinet department except the Pentagon, is expected to be voted on by the House this afternoon and the Senate later this week.

Proposed increases for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, and language that would have rescinded the restrictions on aid to overseas family planning groups that provide abortions (the Global Gag Rule/Mexico City Policy) were withdrawn.

--This article is from Happy Holidays!

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