Advocacy Update Blog Blog Posts

Advocacy Update ~ April 15, 2019

House Votes on Decision Setting Prime Line Spending Amount
Spending caps, also referred to as price range caps, have been established within the Finances Management Act of 2011 to limit federal spending and avoid debt. Since then, Congress has voted to carry these spending caps to keep away from sequestration, or obligatory cuts to accounts if appropriated funding exceeds the spending cap. The current price range, the Bipartisan Finances Act of 2018, is about to expire, and until Congress passes another finances deal, it should set off across-the-board cuts to both protection and non-defense discretionary spending.

Two weeks ago, the House Finances Committee, underneath Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY), passed laws lifting the spending caps for defense and non-defense discretionary packages, and avoiding sequestration. Unfortunately, lacking the votes to move the invoice, leadership decided to postpone the vote. As an alternative it adopted a “deeming resolution,” a proposal used when Congress can’t agree upon a price range resolution, which set the overall spending cap at $1.3 trillion, and without specifying how that money can be allotted throughout spending accounts. With the deeming resolution in place, House appropriators can set funding allocations for individual appropriations bills and begin drafting spending payments.

House and Senate Hearings on the FY20 Price range
Final week, both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and USAID Administrator Mark Green appeared on Capitol Hill for a collection of hearings on the President’s Fiscal Yr (FY) 2020 finances.

April 9: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Overseas Operations,and Associated Packages with Secretary Pompeo

    • Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressed their disinterest in the President’s proposed finances, which requests a reduction of funding to the Worldwide Affairs account by 24%.
    • Secretary Pompeo defended the proposed price range stating, “President Trump has made it clear that U.S. foreign assistance should serve America’s interests, and should support countries that help us to advance our foreign policy goals.”
    • Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Chris Coons (D-DE) raised considerations over Secretary Pompeo’s current announcement of an expanded Mexico Metropolis Policy, also called the International Gag Rule, and its impression on maternal and baby well being. The proposed enlargement of the rule would bar overseas nongovernmental organizations from using non-U.S. funding to help health or improvement work of overseas partners that interact in abortion-related work, even if that group does not receive U.S. funding and uses separate funding to help abortion-related work.
    • “…We currently have a funding gap of $50 million as a direct result of this policy and that translates to 1.4 million fewer women with access to contraceptive services, 600,000 more unsafe abortions, 4,600 avoidable maternal deaths…the data is unmistakable,” stated Senator Shaheen.
    • Secretary Pompeo said that the expanded policy “does not reduce health care by a single dollar” and later went on to debate the severity of the Ebola disaster, “The security situation there is a real challenge…it’s something that the world, I don’t think, has focused on significantly and the numbers I see each week don’t show that we have our arms around it yet.”
    • View the hearing.

April 9: House Overseas Affairs Committee Hearing with Mark Inexperienced

    • Of their opening statements, Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Rating Member Michael McCaul (R-TX) both expressed their help of USAID and concern for the proposed price range.
    • “Core humanitarian accounts and democracy and governance programs slashed by 40%; maternal and child health programs cut by a quarter; food security, nutrition assistance, basic education all chopped by roughly half…What an ugly picture this budget paints of America,” stated Chairman Engel.
    • Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) thanked Administrator Green for USAID’s contributions in the direction of addressing tuberculosis and raised concern over frontline health staff’ publicity to illnesses like Ebola.
    • “One of the reasons I am so keen to tackle tuberculosis is not only can we tackle it, not only is it currently a terrible killer around the world, but third, it’s the stigma that is too often associated with tuberculosis. It attacks the poor and the vulnerable and further marginalizes them from society and to me, that’s an extra tragedy that we need to take on where we can but these technologies create real opportunities,” stated Green.
    • Representative Ami Bera (D-CA) expressed concern over his communication with implementing organizations who have not yet acquired USAID funding that is meant to help their work. Administrator Green agreed to work to deal with this difficulty.
    • Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) mentioned the need for strengthened help around antibiotic resistance stating that “…in Kenya, 90% of people used antibiotics in the last year alone…we’ve lost about 700,000 people to drug-resistant antibiotics.”
    • Consultant Houlahan, along with Chairman Engel and Consultant Bera, said their considerations relating to the expanded Mexico City Policy and its influence on ladies’s health.
    • Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL) reiterated the Chairman and Ranking Members’ sentiments towards the proposed finances. “This year’s request includes a 24% cut to the overall International Affairs budget, 28% reduction to global health, and a 34% decrease to humanitarian assistance…foreign assistance is not charity,” he said. “We invest in people and countries around the world because it is in our own national interest. Investing in diplomacy and development prevents the outbreak of conflict, it saves U.S. taxpayer dollars, and most importantly, it saves American lives by preventing the deployment of U.S. service members to dangerous parts of the world.”
    • View the listening to.

April 10: Senate Overseas Relations Committee Listening to With Secretary Pompeo

    • Just like different hearings on the President’ price range, Chairman James Risch (R-ID) and Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) expressed their considerations on the proposed cuts to the finances for the State Division. Chairman Risch said that we’d like vibrant State Department however that it ought to be structured for the world at this time and never the past. He emphasized the need for diplomacy to mirror the altering world.
    • Ranking Member Menendez stated that the President’s finances is a “recurring bad dream,” and stated that either the President has no understanding of the U.S. position on the earth or has a want for the U.S. to retreat from the worldwide stage. He additionally targeted on Trump administration policies stating, “…confronting China is not the same as being competitive with China; threatening to cut funding to Central America to deal with poverty and violence is not effective…”
    • Members’ questions ranged from China to Venezuela to the current announcement that the administration would minimize help to the Northern Triangle in an effort to cease the arrival of migrants on the U.S. border.
    • View the listening to.

Dr. Alma Golden Nominated to Assistant Administrator
Dr. Alma Golden, who is presently serving as the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for International Well being, was nominated by President Trump to the position of Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for International Well being. Her affirmation hearing before the Senate Overseas Relations Committee has not yet been scheduled.

Reintroduction of International Well being Safety Act
Last week, the International Health Safety Act (invoice number pending) was reintroduced by Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Steve Chabot (R-OH). The International Well being Security Act reaffirms the significance of U.S. leadership in international well being security and its dedication to the International Well being Safety Agenda. Specifically, the legislation requires strengthened interagency coordination on international health safety points and addresses the need for a everlasting official answerable for coordinating between U.S. businesses during international well being crises.

The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Rick Larsen (D-WA). International Well being Council and other leading international well being organizations endorsed the legislation.

Modifications to invoice from the previous model embrace:

    • A codification of interagency coordination of worldwide health safety by designating a Special Advisor to the President on the degree of Deputy Assistant or larger, according to the model established in the course of the Ebola outbreak;
    • Designating that an employee of the Nationwide Security Council function chair of the GHSA Interagency Assessment Council, somewhat than the “Special Advisor”;
    • Including the Division of Labor, Nationwide Institutes of Health, and Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses to the businesses represented on the GHSA Interagency Evaluation Council;
    • Giving the chair of the GHSA Interagency Assessment Council the power to add other businesses to the Council as applicable;
    • Including a discovering related to President Trump’s Nationwide Technique for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism, which was launched in December 2018;
    • Eradicating the requirement for the annual report to include a abstract of the strategy as an appendix; and
    • Updating dates and timelines.

Read International Health Council’s statement.

Learn Representatives Connolly and Chabot’s assertion.

To interact in advocacy efforts around the International Health Safety Act with the International Health Security Roundtable, contact [email protected]

This submit was written by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Supervisor, Coverage & Advocacy, and Victoria Rodriguez, Advocacy Affiliate.