Wins, disappointments, and next steps in the Senate FY24 appropriations bill
Earlier this month, the House released their State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) appropriations bill, setting out their priorities for foreign aid and development assistance. While the overall bill had cuts that will harm a variety of foreign aid programs, RESULTS priority areas were protected. Thanks to your incredible advocacy, the House maintained funding for USAID Tuberculosis and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria at last year’s (FY23) enacted levels, and even included a small increase for Nutrition and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Now, the Senate has moved their SFOPS bill forward, and once again the incredible persistence of the RESULTS network has paid off. The Senate maintained USAID Tuberculosis and Nutrition funding at FY23 levels, and included a $10 million increase to the Maternal and Child Health Account for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The Senate chose to take a different approach than the House on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Instead of maintaining the ask of $2 billion, they lowered it to $1.65 billion, but reaffirmed their support for the overall ask of $6 billion in three years. The U.S. is limited by the one-third cap in the PEPFAR legislation on how much we can legally give to the Global Fund, relative to other countries. The Senate chose to appropriate a smaller number this fiscal year in the bill to prevent a large drop in funding next year. Our international partners are on the case, working to increase Global Fund money from other countries, so that the U.S. can give as close to the full $6 billion as we legally can.
Unfortunately, the Senate’s global education numbers came in well below the need. As expected, they stuck with the President’s Budget Request of $640.55 million, while the House maintained the FY23 funding level of $970 million. The Senate always comes in below the House on education, but we need to make it clear that they should set aside a more reasonable amount, and not rely on the House to increase funding for education. Both the House and Senate maintained our support for the Global Partnership for Education at $130 million for FY24.
Under regular order you would then expect both SFOPS bills to get passed by the full chambers before House/Senate negotiations begin. But politics in the House on policy riders and funding levels mean we have a ways to go before negotiations happen. We hope that all 12 appropriations bills will be passed by the end of September, to avoid a government shutdown. But a finalized budget may not emerge until as late as December. As advocates, your job is to ask your Members of Congress to push for the highest possible funding levels for each of our priority areas.
While the appropriations debate may drag on for months, the fact that we’re entering negotiations with our issues largely maintained or even increased is an incredible feat. Without your efforts, we were at risk of devastating cuts that would have set our global health and education progress back years. Your impact on U.S. global health policies cannot be overstated. With the August recess coming up, let’s continue the fight, urging Congress to increase the equity and impact of the programs we fund around the world.