President Biden’s new budget: A mixed bag for global health, spotlights U.S. economic justice
The annual President’s Budget Release Day is a big day in D.C. where advocates across all issues quickly search through thousands of pages of the federal budget to see if their policy priorities and funding priorities made its way into the budget after all.
From RESULTS priority issues, we were glad to see the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit both highlighted in the budget as the Biden Administration priorities. The budget also outlined support for housing, and particularly highlighted the administration’s intent to ensure support was universal.
However, the RESULTS global poverty funding priorities were a mixed bag. You can find the specifics of the State Department budget here. One budget win was the continued commitment from the Biden administration in their support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Last year RESULTS advocates and Congressional champions were able to secure $2 billion for the Global Fund, and Biden is advocating for another $2 billion in FY24. This is a great sign that U.S. support for the Global Fund’s mission will encourage other countries to continue to pledge funding as well.
But, the President’s Budget reveals a lack of ambition on Maternal and Child Health (MCH), Nutrition, and bilateral Tuberculosis programs, even as the needs have grown during COVID-19. Both the Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition accounts are maintained at the same funding levels as last year, although the Administration did include a $10 million increase for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. With an increase to Gavi, but not an increase to topline MCH account, that unfortunately amounts to a decrease in the core MCH level. RESULTS’ goals are more ambitious and based on need. Gavi is particularly important this year because of the need to reach more “no dose” children – those kids who have never received a single immunization and are often left behind entirely from the health systems. Additionally there’s a huge opportunity to support the roll out of the new malaria vaccine through Gavi.
And lastly in Global Health – the USAID Tuberculosis funding level is extremely disappointing, with the President asking for only $358.5 million. While that is higher than their funding request last year, that funding level would be a more than 9% cut from the FY23 enacted level. Tuberculosis funding is needed now more than ever, and this year holds unique opportunities for world leaders to take steps towards ending the TB epidemic, which aside from COVID, is the deadliest on Earth. U.S. support and leadership is needed at the G7, G20, and even at the UN High Level Meeting on TB that is planned for September. This cut in the face of these incredible opportunities lacks vision. Our Congressional champions must pick up the slack and support increased funding for TB this year.
The numbers for International Basic Education and the Global Partnership for Education were not yet released, but are expected soon as the State Department and USAID roll out their Congressional Budget Justifications on other accounts.