Congress Passes Final Spending Bill for FY 2010

December 17, 2009
by John Fawcett, Legislative Director

The president has signed a final spending package passed by Congress that includes foreign aid funding levels for the fiscal year (FY) 2010. While the federal fiscal year actually began on October 1, Congress has relied on stopgap spending measures prior to finalizing their appropriations bills. The measure includes modest increases for global health, education, and microfinance spending and underscores the significant work to be done to mobilize additional resources next year.

Congress approved $265 million for microfinance (and microenterprise) and $925 million for basic education, a significant increase over last year’s funding level of $700 million. In addition to this funding boost, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), also signaled the Committee’s openness to new approaches to education aid, such as a Global Fund for Education. The report accompanying the House foreign aid bill states:

The Committee notes the growing support for a Global Fund for Education and encourages the Administration to consider how United States Government resources and leadership can support the attainment of the Education for All goals in any multilateral mechanism, taking into consideration the importance of coordination, host country ownership, education quality, and support for children in countries with failing or weak governments.

Congress provided $225 million to fund programs to fight TB — a $63 million increase over last year, but not on track to meet the Lantos-Hyde Act target of $4 billion over five years. The spending bill also includes $1.05 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a small increase over the $1 billion appropriated last year.

While the ink on the fiscal year 2010 spending bill is barely dry, RESULTS has already begun to build support for increased funding for the Global Fund for fiscal year 2011. In October, we helped build support for a letter from 98 members of Congress to President Obama requesting $1.75 billion for the Global Fund in his upcoming budget.

The appropriations process is how Congress determines the allocation of foreign aid and other spending priorities. RESULTS’ work on this arcane but critical process is part of what makes our brand of grassroots advocacy unique. Want to dig in? Check out our guide to the federal budget and appropriations process and get ready for the next fiscal year.

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