And now...the appropriations March Madness begins (UPDATED 6-21)


April 10th, 2019
Crickett Nicovich, RESULTS Senior Advisor for Global Policy and Government Affairs

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!

TRACK CURRENT SIGNERS FOR FY20 DEAR COLLEAGUES HERE!

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
  • Senate deadline for signing onto Basic Education and Global Partnership for Education letter is April 12
  • Senate deadline for signing onto MCH, Gavi, Nutrition letter is April 19
  • Senate deadline for signing onto Global Fund and PEPFAR letter is April 23
  • Senate deadline for signing onto Bilateral Tuberculosis letter is April 24 at NOON.
  • Senate deadline for member requests to SFOPS committee is April 26

Senate Letters

FY20 Senate Basic Education and Global Partnership for Education Dear Colleague Letter

  • Letter led by Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD)
  • Asks appropriators for robust funding for Basic Education and the Global Partnership for Education
  • Deadline to sign on – April 12
  • To sign on – offices can contact [email protected] in Sen. Van Hollen’s office
  • Final signed letter

FY20 Senate MCH, Gavi, Nutrition Dear Colleague Letter

  • Bipartisan letter led by Sens. Collins (R-ME) and Coons (D-DE)
  • 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 – April 19
  • To sign on – offices can contact [email protected] in Sen. Collins’ office or [email protected] in Sen. Coons’ office.
  • Final signed letter

FY20 Senate Bilateral Tuberculosis Dear Colleague Letter

  • Bipartisan letter led by Sens. Young (R-IN), and Brown (D-OH)
  • Asks appropriators for robust funding for the bilateral tuberculosis program at USAID
  • Deadline to sign on – April 24
  • To sign on – offices can contact [email protected] in Sen. Brown’s office or [email protected] in Sen. Young’s office
  • Final signed letter

FY20 Senate Global Fund and PEPFAR Dear Colleague Letter

  • Bipartisan letter led by Sen. Iskason (R-GA) and Sen. Booker (D-NJ)
  • Asks for robust funding for the Global Fund and PEPFAR
  • Deadline to sign on – April 23
  • To sign on – offices can contact [email protected].gov in Sen. Isakson’s office or [email protected]  in Sen. Booker’s office
  • Final signed letter

House Letters

FY20 House Global Fund and PEPFAR Dear Colleague Letter:

  • 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.
  • Final signed letter

FY20 House Basic Education and Global Partnership for Education Dear Colleague Letter:

  • 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.
  • Final signed letter

FY20 House MCH, Gavi, Nutrition Dear Colleague Letter: 

  • 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.
  • Final signed letter

FY20 House Global TB Dear Colleague Letter:

  • Bipartisan letter led by Reps. Engel (D-NY), Don Young (R-AK)
  • Asks appropriators for $400 million for the bilateral tuberculosis program at USAID
  • Deadline to sign on – March 22
  • To sign on – offices can contact [email protected] in Rep. Engel’s office or [email protected] in Rep. Young’s office.
  • Final signed letter

Affordable Housing Sign on Letters

This year, RESULTS also supported a sign on letter which asked that appropriators support robust funding for affordable housing assistance in the United States. Specifically, that the Committee provide at least $24 billion for housing vouchers to renew all vouchers currently in use and make targeted investments in vouchers for families with children.

  • FY20 House Housing Choice Voucher Letter
  • FY20 Senate Housing Choice Voucher Letter
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