Reps. McCollum and Reichert Introduce H.Res. 688 in Support of the GAVI Alliance

August 1, 2014
by Crickett Nicovich, Senior Policy Associate

Over the past few months, there have been a cascade of events around child health, each growing on the next, and each reaffirming the need to ramp up our efforts globally. Back in May, the GAVI Alliance announced its 2016-2020 strategy and its big goal of immunizing 300 million children which will save 5-6 million lives from vaccine-preventable diseases, such as pneumonia, deadly diarrhea, and other leading killers. In June, the U.S. Government recommitted to ending preventable child deaths in a generation, and reconfirmed that support for the GAVI Alliance will help the U.S. achieve their targets around decreasing child mortality rates globally. And finally last week, Congressional champions on maternal and child health, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), introduced House Resolution 688 (H.Res.688) that emphasizes U.S. commitment to the life-saving work of the GAVI Alliance.

So, what has GAVI achieved? Since established in 2000, the GAVI Alliance has supported the immunization of 440,000,000 children with life-saving vaccines in over 70 countries. Through the Alliance partners, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and countries themselves, the world has seen unprecedented increases in access to new and underutilized vaccines. These immunizations will save 6 million lives.

These gains are phenomenal, but the GAVI Alliance’s work is not complete. Still over 20 million children out of each birth cohort are not receiving access to these life-saving vaccines, that’s about 1 child out of every 5 children still missing out on basic immunization. The GAVI Alliance’s 2016-2020 strategy focuses on equity in access to vaccines and increasing immunization coverage rates for those hard to reach children.

To accelerate congressional support on global immunization Reps. McCollum and Reichert’s H.Res.688:

  • Commends the GAVI Alliance’s work to save lives;
  • Recognizes the U.S. leadership on child health and our contributions to the GAVI Alliance as one of six initial donors;
  • Supports the ideals and goals of the GAVI Alliance to (A) accelerate equitable uptake and coverage of vaccines; (B) improve the effectiveness and efficiency of immunization delivery; (C) improve sustainability of national immunization programs; and (D) shape markets for vaccines and other immunization products;
  • Affirms the U.S. continued support for purchasing vaccines for poor countries through GAVI;
  • And, encourages continued commitment and investment from Congress to support the GAVI Alliance’s work to roll out new and underutilized vaccines for developing countries.

Thanks to the concerted effort by RESULTS grassroots advocates (especially during lobby meetings at the RESULTS International Conference and follow up afterwards), this resolution gathered strong bi-partisan support with a diverse list of original co-sponsors when it was introduced. In addition to McCollum and Reichert, the co-chairs of the Global Health Caucus, as the leads on the resolution, H.Res. 688 also has the support of many House Foreign Affairs Committee members and members of the State and Foreign Operations sub-committee of Appropriations, the two committees that have jurisdiction over foreign aid. The original sponsors and co-sponsors are:

1.Betty McCollum (D-MN – Co-chair of the Global Health Caucus, Appropriator)

2.Dave Reichert (D-WA – Co-chair of the Global Health Caucus)

3.Eliot Engel (D-NY- Ranking Member Foreign Affairs)

4.Ander Crenshaw (R-FL – Appropriations Foreign Operations)

5.Karen Bass (D-CA – Foreign Affairs – Ranking member of Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations subcommittee)

6.Mario Diaz-Balart  (R-FL – Appropriations Foreign Operations)

7.Barbara Lee (D-CA – Appropriations Foreign Operations)

8.Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA)

9.Adam Smith (D-WA – Foreign Assistance Caucus)

10.Michael McCaul (R-TX – Foreign Affairs)

11.Elizabeth Esty (D-CT)

12.Patrick McHenry (R-NC – Chief Deputy Whip)

13.Jackie Speier (D-CA)

14.Dennis Ross (R-FL)

15.Jim McDermott (D-WA)

16.Ralph Hall (R-TX)

17.Sander Levin (D-MI)

18.Aaron Schock (R-IL)

19.Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA – Appropriations)

Check back here to see if your member has been added as a co-sponsor!

Congrats on your fantastic efforts to build support for the GAVI Alliance. Check out this press release where RESULTS’ Executive Director, Joanne Carter, gets a shout out from Rep. McCollum’s office on our support for GAVI and the resolution!  

And, most importantly, if your member of Congress has not signed on yet, don’t forget to ask your Representative to co-sponsor H.Res. 688 during the August recess! Keeping up the momentum on child health and gaining support for this resolution will be the first step in educating members and gaining more congressional support for GAVI preceding the GAVI Alliance’s 2015 replenishment conference where donors will be asked to support GAVI’s 2016-2020 strategy. 

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