Today, in the middle of the contentious House health care vote on C-SPAN 1, over on C-SPAN 2 the Senate finally passed the $1.1 trillion fiscal year 2017 (FY17) government spending bill. There are a few positives on our global poverty work that RESULTS advocates can be really proud of in this final bill.
Most of your work on this bill happened over a year ago back before Beyoncé even released Lemonade, Simone Biles won all those gold medals, and way before the presidential primaries were decided. We blogged on the funding levels for global health and education coming out of the House and Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittees way back in July. The numbers were really promising, but in no way guaranteed in this current climate.
While RESULTS activists have been diligently working on funding requests for the NEXT fiscal year since February (for Fiscal Year 2018 – FY18), the FY17 government spending bills for THIS year were still in limbo. Initially, the FY17 bill was punted through what is known as a “continuing resolution” (CR) back in September of 2016. Instead of moving ahead with a vote on the new funding levels, the CR allowed Congress to flat-fund programs across the board, and push back the deadline to finalize the bill until after the November election. Congress first passed a continuing resolution to maintain funding through December of 2016. But then, as the new administration came in, they wanted to weigh in on the FY17 funding levels, so Congress punted again with another CR to April 28, 2017. Last week, as final discussions broke down over funding for the border wall and other Administration priorities, Congress yet again passed a one-week CR to avoid a government shutdown as they ironed out final negotiations.
Needless to say, it’s been a long time coming! On Monday morning House and Senate leadership both released their statements and the final text of the “Omnibus” bill (all the individual subcommittee appropriations bills wrapped up together in one funding package). On Wednesday the House passed the package of bills and then sent it to the Senate for a vote. Today’s vote in the Senate secured funding through the end of FY17, which is September 30. The bill will now be sent to the President to sign.
The good news is that across the board RESULTS’ priority programs were either maintained or increased in FY17! Writ large, poverty-focused development programs were protected this year, which puts us in a strong place as RESULTS continues to work on FY18 and get those requests in front of our Senators to make decisions on FY18’s bill.
The Final FY17 numbers:
The topline International Affairs account saw about a 1 percent increase, in part because of an almost $1 billion added as emergency resources for famine relief.
Global Health overall also saw a $222 million increase, which protected all the subaccounts from cuts. This included a $64.5 million increase to the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) account – which means both MCH core funding is increased by $24.5 million and there’s also full funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, an increase of $40 million. This keeps us on track for the $1 billion over four years Gavi pledge made back in 2015. Bilateral tuberculosis funding was also increased by $5 million, the first increase for the program in 9 years! Kaiser Family Foundation also has a good deep dive on the Global Health funding particulars across the accounts. On our priorities:
Maternal and Child Health is increased by $64.5 million to $814.5 million, $40 million of the increase ensures Gavi is fully funded at $275 million
Nutrition funding was maintained at $125 million
Tuberculosis is increased $5 million to $241 million
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was maintained at $1.35 billion
Additionally, Development Assistance (DA) also receives a $214.5 million increase. Because of proposed cuts by the Administration, RESULTS is particularly concerned about defending funding in DA for Basic Education and particularly the Global Partnership for Education for next year. But, in FY17:
Bilateral Basic Education is maintained at $800 million and the Global Partnership for Education is increased by $5 million to $75 million
With FY17 finally wrapped up, we continue to really focus on the FY18 front. The House State and Foreign Operations deadline was March 30 to get in individual member requests, but the committee has yet to start working on the bill since they were still busy finalizing FY17 until this week. Representatives can and should still speak to the Chairman Hal Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey about the importance of supporting the poverty-focused global development accounts.
On the Senate side, the FY18 deadline for SFOPS has not yet been announced, but we expect it to be sometime in June. Meanwhile, we already have Senate side appropriations sign-on letters circulating and ongoing actions you can take. You can also keep track of where your Representatives and Senators have joined these letters on this blog! Definitely keep up the calls and emails and letters to your Congressional offices!
FY17 President’s Request
Maternal and Child Health
of which Gavi
of which UNICEF
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria