Following on the heels of last month’s passage of the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill in the House Appropriations Committee, the Senate Committee this week took up and passed its own version.
As indicated in my previous blog, ONE expressed disappointment in the House bill because it contained cuts of nearly 10 percent from FY 2012. Although the overall Senate version registers an overall cut of just under 2 percent, it does contain increases for our ONE priority accounts. This is something we should all cheer.
Specifically, the Senate version contains $1.65 billion for the Global Fund, $145 million for GAVI and $1.2 billion for Feed the Future, all figures requested by the President. This is a significant accomplishment for all of you who campaigned for these programs through your letters, office visits, petitions and other activities in the States. You should all be congratulated for this work.
But it is not over. There remain significant differences between the House and Senate versions. Although neither House has scheduled floor consideration of these bills yet, there is support for bringing them up over the summer, possibly as early as late June or July. In that case, we must be ready to continue our engagement with our representatives and senators and urge them to support the highest levels possible in both Houses; especially should they be considered by a House-Senate Conference Committee.
Therefore, keep the calls, letters and emails to members’ offices coming. Reinforce your support for these life-saving programs by demanding that they be spared any cuts. Three million voices are hard to ignore. We can save the proven programs that fight HIV/AIDS, hunger and preventable disease, but we have to fight.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please go to www.one.org or contact Ted Brennan at Ted.Brennan@one.org.