Senate FY21 Appropriations Bills Released, COVID-19 Emergency Relief Still Urgently Needed

November 17, 2020
by Dorothy Monza, Advocacy Associate

Every year, Congress decides how to spend the money in the U.S. federal budget in a process called “appropriations.” They “appropriate” money line-by-line to different programs. RESULTS urges lawmakers to support issues that build the foundation to end poverty – health, education, and economic opportunity.

Status of FY21 Appropriations Bills

The House of Representatives released their appropriations bills this summer but Congress could not come to an agreement on Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 spending by the September 30 deadline. Instead, they passed a Continuing Resolution through December 11, 2020 which keeps most of the government funded at FY20 levels. The Senate released all of their FY21 appropriations bills in November. To avoid a government shutdown, Congress will need to come together to pass a bill by December 11—whether this is another Continuing Resolution or FY21 appropriations bills that the House and Senate agree on. On December 8, the House introduced a Continuing Resolution to extend federal government funding through December 18 and keep the government open after the current stopgap funding law. This extra week will give the House and Senate leadership more time to negotiate a COVID-19 emergency funding package.

What’s in the Senate SFOPS Appropriations Bill

Our global poverty appropriations work focuses on the State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill, which funds several foreign assistance and global health programs. Our FY21 advocacy started back in January and continued through March with our “Dear Colleague” work. This year, RESULTS advocates pushed Congress to support lifesaving global health programs through US Agency for International Development (USAID) programs for maternal and child health and tuberculosis, as well as multilateral partnerships like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance. We also called on policymakers to invest in nutrition and basic education programs.

The Senate bill provides a total of $55.2 billion for SFOPS. This is a 23 percent ($10.5 billion) increase over the Administration’s FY21 request for SFOPS, and 1 percent ($753 million) below the House level for non-emergency funding. Several accounts that we advocate for received small increases or remained “flat funded” from FY20 levels. RESULTS will push lawmakers to include the higher number wherever there are discrepancies between House and Senate funding levels.

  FY19 Enacted FY20 Enacted President’s FY21 Request RESULTS FY21 Request House FY21 Senate FY21
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria $1.35 billion $1.56 billion $658 million $1.56 billion $1.56 billion $1.56 billion
USAID Tuberculosis $302 million $310 million $275 million $400 million $310 million $325 million
Maternal and Child Health $835 million $851 million $659.6 million $900 million $850 million $865 million
Of which Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance $290 million $290 million $290 million $290 million $290 million $290 million
USAID Nutrition $145 million $150 million $90 million $200 million $145 million $150 million
Basic Education $800 million $875 million N/A $975 million $975 million $515 million
Of which, the Global Partnership for Education $90 million $100 million N/A $125 million $100 million $100 million

Our Top Priority is Securing at Least $20 billion in Foreign Aid in COVID-19 Supplemental Bill

In the House SFOPS bill appropriators included $10 billion in emergency funds to respond to the global pandemic, while the Senate SFOPS bill included no COVID-related emergency funds. However, having this response as part of a regular FY21 bill could delay the process and the dollars from reaching communities most in need.

Our top priority remains pushing Congress to pass a COVID-19 supplemental funding package that includes at least $20 billion in foreign assistance. We are in a global crisis that threatens millions of lives—both from COVID-19 and the secondary effects of the pandemic. The World Bank estimates as many as 150 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by the end of 2020 and we are losing decades of progress on child mortality and other hard-won public health achievements. It’s critical that organizations like Gavi and the Global Fund can access more funds quickly to shore up their existing programs, mitigate the secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure the procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries as soon as a vaccine comes to market.

This crisis is far from over, and we need a timely and coordinated US global response. Contact your members of Congress below and tell them to act now.

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