And Now...the Appropriations March Madness Begins (UPDATED 3-14)
March 7th, 2019
Asking your representative and senators to support funding for poverty-focused global development is one of the most powerful requests you can make, and right now is your chance, as Congress focuses on the “appropriations” process. In January, RESULTS’ appropriations campaign kicked off with the release of our fiscal year 2020 “Appropriations Memos” and much of the focus during “Set the Agenda” campaign has been about funding the fight against global poverty. The annual appropriations process is a time to influence how we prioritize our funding for issues that provide care and access to services for the most vulnerable. It is also an opportunity to get your members of Congress to raise their voices on this issue with their peers through congressional “sign-on” letters.
New to this? Feel free to reach out! But here are some basics – and links to letters and sample emails at the bottom!
What’s a sign on letter? A “sign-on” letter (also called a “Dear Colleague” letter) is like a petition in Congress. Sign-on letters are circulated by champions in Congress to ask other members to join them in showing their support for an issue. Sign on letters on funding levels are sent to the leaders of the appropriations committee that writes the foreign aid spending bill. The number of signers on these letters set a marker for just how much support an issue area has. As leaders of the committee start writing their annual spending bill, having clear support from their colleagues is important when they are deciding how to divide up their budget for the year. These letters can have a lot of sway with leadership when a strong number of their colleagues are asking them to support a cause – especially if it shows bipartisan support!
Which letter? Annually RESULTS supports four different appropriations sign-on letters on both the House and Senate side (so eight letters in total)! These four letters ask that appropriators support: 1) robust funding for International Basic Education and the Global Partnership for Education (House letter out), 2) robust funding for PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (House letter out), 3) robust funding for Maternal and Child Health, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Nutrition in Global Health (not out yet), and 4) funding for bilateral Tuberculosis treatment and control, and (not out yet). On the bilateral TB letter – the House version typically asks for a specific funding level of $400 million, the Senate version asks for robust funding.
When are the deadlines? How do you choose? Our window of opportunity to get Congressional support for each letter is different. Check below and continue to check this blog as it will be updated to let you know who has signed on to the many letters circulating and what their deadlines are. Remember! You don’t have to ask for everything. Pick and choose the letters that you think your member of Congress will be most interested in. To help you decide, you can also find a longer term Congressional Scorecard of actions your representatives and senators have taken over the past 6-7 years through middle of 2018 on this page. You can also check out last year’s appropriations blog for FY19 letters to see who signed previous letters.
We are tracking signers differently this year. Check it out!
UPDATED! Important Dates:
- House deadline for signing onto Basic Education and Global Partnership for Education letter is March 18
- House deadline for signing onto MCH, Gavi, Nutrition letter is March 22
- House deadline for signing onto Bilateral Tuberculosis letter is March 22
- House deadline for signing onto Global Fund and PEPFAR letter is March 25 at NOON.
- House deadline for member requests to SFOPS committee is March 28
- Bipartisan letter led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)
- Asks for robust funding for the Global Fund and PEPFAR
- Deadline to sign on – March 25 at NOON
- To sign on! Offices must fill out this google form on behalf of their bosses.
- Bipartisan letter led by Reps. Quigley (D-IL) and Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
- Asks appropriators for robust funding for Basic Education and the Global Partnership for Education
- Deadline to sign on – March 17
- To sign on – offices can contact [email protected] in Rep. Quigley’s office or [email protected] in Rep. Fitzpatrick’s office.
- Bipartisan letter led by Reps. McCollum (D-MN), Brooks (R-IN), Lee (D-CA), and Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
- Asks appropriators for robust funding for the Maternal and Child Health Account, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Nutrition Account
- Deadline to sign on – March 22
- To sign on – offices can contact [email protected] in Rep. McCollum’s office or [email protected] in Rep. Brooks’s office.