Earlier this week, the Administration released the President’s Budget Request to Congress for Fiscal Year 2021. Unfortunately, despite a bipartisan budget deal put in place in August, the request proposes large cuts to foreign assistance, specifically targeting many global health programs and the United Nations. In December, the Congress passed, on a bipartisan basis, and the President signed into law key funding increases that would advance our efforts to improve malaria prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and research and development.
Unfortunately, the 22% cut to overall foreign assistance that was requested would also cut funding for the President’s Malaria Initiative from $770m in FY’20 to $708.5m in FY’21, zero out funding to some critical UN agencies waging the fight against malaria, and slash funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from $1.56b in FY’20 to $658m in FY’21, less than one year after the world came together for the largest ever Global Fund replenishment. Additionally, the U.S. would unilaterally change the way its contribution is calculated, from a 2-to-1 match to a 3-to 1 match, which would further decrease the power of the Global Fund.
This request runs counter to the way Congress has been working in recent years: the parties have reached across the aisle to “step up the fight” with large increase to both PMI and the Global Fund. Last October, a bipartisan Congressional delegation pledged a 15% increase to our three-year commitment at the Global Fund Replenishment Conference. This helped the Global Fund secure an historic $14.02 billion replenishment from world leaders. The United States cannot afford to step back and lose momentum. Taking money away from these accounts means fewer bed nets and rapid diagnostic tests, less medications and treatments, and more lives threatened every night by this preventable, treatable disease. These cuts would also mean that the incredible progress we have made so far in combating the disease could now be in jeopardy.
Over the last three fiscal years, Congress has continued and even increased funding for the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund, funding these programs far above the President’s requested levels. Congress has worked in a bipartisan fashion to ensure overall foreign affairs funding is prioritized and protected them from the proposed draconian cuts that would erode American leadership in global health.
We hope, and believe Congress will again work in a bipartisan way to show the world that we are going to continue our leadership in ending malaria through full funding of the UN, along with increased funding for the Global Fund and the President’s Malaria Initiative.
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