Great news in Senate foreign aid bill for Global Fund and global COVID-19 relief
Today the Senate State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of Appropriations (SFOPS) released the foreign aid spending bill text for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). With Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) at the head of the full appropriations committee and former head of SFOPS, he and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), the current Chair of SFOPS, released this statement alongside the bill. Chairman Leahy added:
“The bill supports our diplomats and foreign aid workers, and makes bold investments to tackle the climate crisis, fight HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, support democracy and human rights, combat hunger and poverty, and pay what we owe to the UN and other multilateral organizations. It includes emergency funding to respond to the COVID pandemic where the virus continues to mutate, spreading more contagious infections and death, including in this country. The bill complements the billions of dollars in emergency humanitarian aid we’ve already provided to support the people of Ukraine. We are well positioned to finalize a bipartisan State, Foreign Operations conference agreement for the President to sign in the fall.”– Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
While the bill text was released, the bill will not go through a mark-up in committee before the recess. We expect the bill to move forward as part of an omnibus package, a bundle of all the appropriations bills, after the November elections.
The Great News!
One of the most exciting pieces of the bill was the inclusion of full funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria at $2 billion for the first year of the Biden Administration’s pledge. The pledge will commit $6 billion over 3 years for the Global Fund’s replenishment. With full funding, which means mobilizing $18 billion from all donors, the Global Fund will be able to save 20 million lives from AIDS, TB, and Malaria. The committee even released report language pushing other donor countries to step up and increase their funding for the Global Fund to ensure no dollars are left on the table for the U.S. match. The bill report language:
The Committee recommends $2,000,000,000 for the first installment of the seventh replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In advance of the Global Fund Replenishment Conference in September 2022, the Committee urges other donors to increase their contributions, which the United States matches at a rate of $1 for every $2 received from other donors.
RESULTS grassroots have been pushing Congress to vocally support the Administration’s pledge and to push other donors and partners to the table since February. This was a strong indication that Congress, alongside the Administration, will use their diplomatic might to get our other partners to ante-up and support the Global Fund replenishment in September. Our partners around the world will continue to push their own governments to step up to fund the Fund, but the U.S. Government outreach here can really be powerful if played well. As U.S. advocates, we are continuing to urge the Administration to have the highest-level Head of State conversations to ensure that the Global Fund replenishment is successful and we reach the full $18 billion goal.
Other Good News!
The fight against global COVID-19 has been critically underfunded. The last spending bill that included support for global immunization campaigns, treatment and prevention of COVID, passed Congress almost 18 months ago as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. That COVID funding was obligated by November of last year and USAID has had no other resources to support developing countries to roll out vaccines to fight COVID, even as variants are mutating and running rampant and with increasing transmissibility.
Thankfully, this Senate FY23 bill included an emergency provision of $5 billion to support the fight against COVID-19 globally. RESULTS has been pushing for supplemental global resources for COVID since the end of 2021 and we are thrilled to see this action being added to a regular annual appropriations bill in anticipation of the needs here.
While we would hope that this supplemental provision could be passed as a standalone bill well before the end-of-year spending bill, that will likely not be the case due to limited time where Congress is in session before the mid-term elections. We must continue to remind Congress of the urgency and the needs globally as COVID-19 and its ripple effects are far from over.
On RESULTS Other Priority Poverty-Focused Accounts
Outside of the Global Fund and COVID, the Senate SFOPS bill includes increased resources across other issue areas that RESULTS has been advocating for in the core annual funding bill. Across the key accounts RESULTS follows the House bill has the same or stronger funding levels, with one exception – the Maternal and Child Health account is $10 million higher in the Senate bill. RESULTS will be pushing for the highest funding level across the accounts in any final bill negotiations later in the year.
Senate SFOPS funding levels for key accounts:
- $2 billion for Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria (in line with RESULTS’ FY23 request)
- $400 million for Bilateral Tuberculosis account (an increase of $29 million from FY22 levels)
- $900 million for Maternal and Child Health account (an increase of $10 million from FY22 levels)
- Includes $2900 million for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (in line with RESULTS’ FY23 request)
- $160 million for Nutrition account (an increase of $5 million from FY22 levels)
- $693.5 million for Basic Education account (in line with President’s request, and $256.5 million less than FY22 levels
- Includes $140 million for the Global Partnership for Education (an increase of $15 million from FY22 levels)
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