The President's Budget Request is out! What does it mean for global poverty?
Yesterday morning, President Obama released his budget request to Congress for the federal government for fiscal year 2016 (FY16). How did global development fare this year? The documents released today don't include information on every account for which RESULTS advocates, but here's what we know so far:
Child Health and Nutrition: Let's start with the good news. The President's budget request represents a continuation of the Administration's commitment to ending preventable child deaths within a generation.
- The budget includes $770 million for Maternal and Child Health (MCH). This figure is a very welcome increase of $55 million over final FY15 enacted levels,but it does fall short of RESULTS' FY16 request. We plan on working closely with our allies in Congress to increase the MCH number even further to $850 million.
- Within MCH, the Administration reiterated the pledge it made just a few days ago of $1 billion over four years for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and included $235 million for Gavi for FY16. This amount fulfilled RESULTS' request and is a vital increase that keeps the U.S. on track to achieve the pledge amount.
- The budget request contained an additional $101 million for Nutrition programs – a $14 million decrease from FY15 and far from RESULTS FY16 request of $200 million. Congress must reverse this cut and increase funding for Nutrition, a critical component of child health.
Tuberculosis: Once again, the President requested $191 million for Bilateral Tuberculosis programs. This is an unacceptable cut of nearly 20 percent from the FY15 enacted level of $236 million, and well below RESULTS' FY16 request of $400 million for TB. Last year, RESULTS volunteers successfully advocated to reverse the Administration's proposed cut to TB programs. This will be a priority for our appropriations advocacy moving forward again this year and is necessary to maintain support for treatment and prevention programs as well as much-needed reserach and development to address the global TB crisis.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: The Administration's request included $1.1 billion for the Global Fund in FY16 – a cut of nearly $250 million from last year's level of $1.35 billion. The President's low budget request falls short of the need and represents a missed opportunity to fully fund the Global Fund. RESULTS will work with Congress to reverse the President's requested cut and preserve funding for the Global Fund's lifesaving programs.
Overall, the Global Health accounts came out mixed, with welcome increases for MCH and a fulfillment of the Gavi pledge that RESULTS volunteers worked so hard to achieve, but also with an unacceptable cut for Bilateral Tuberculosis as well as cuts for the Global Fund and Nutrition programs.
We are still waiting on the request levels for the Global Partnership for Education and Basic Education and Microfinance. These are expected within the next few weeks, and we will update you as soon as we have them.
Your advocacy with Congress this spring will have a significant impact as we seek to ensure the MCH and Gavi numbers stay strong and reverse the disappointing cuts the President proposed. All of our FY16 request sheets are ready for you to use, and the February Action Sheet provides great support as you prepare to contact your Senators and Representative. Congress is eager to move ahead with FY16 appropriations process – the sooner you contact them about the importance of funding effective povery-focused foreign assistance programs, the better!