Great news for ONE members who have been asking their members of Congress to protect our life-saving budget – your hard work has paid off! ONE members with Rep. Terri Sewell in January 2014.
Update: On Thursday, January 16, 2014, the Senate also voted to pass the FY2014 budget bill. It now goes to the President for his signature.
Last night, after months of negotiations, Congress released the fiscal year 2014 federal budget bill. The omnibus was the result of a deal struck late last year between the House and the Senate over the federal budget. Over the holidays, members and staff of the appropriations committees worked hard to craft a bipartisan compromise bill that will fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.
So – how did ONE’s development priorities fare?
Overall, ONE members should be very pleased with this bill. Thanks in part to their advocacy – calls, letters, emails, tweets, visits – the International Affairs budget actually increased by about 6 percent!
Overall, the bill for State and Foreign Operations is about $3 billion lower than last year’s spending levels – the drop though is because of a cut in the funding level for operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and some hot spots around the world. Given the current spending environment, this is a really good result, and represents both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress coming together on behalf of the world’s poorest people.
At ONE, we’re especially happy that The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria received full funding for fiscal year 2014, and that a number of programs saw increases – including GAVI (which provides millions of childhood vaccines), GAFSP, nutrition and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. We’re waiting to see how the numbers work out for Feed the Future, the billion-dollar USAID agriculture program to fight hunger and promote food security, but we have reason to be optimistic.
There’s still a few steps before this becomes law – we expect the House to pass the bill on Wednesday, and the Senate to do so later this week. Then it heads to the White House for the President’s signature.
When he signs it, ONE members should all feel a sense of pride and accomplishment - your hard work helped to achieve what we set out to do last year, which is to protect development programs designed to save millions of lives, and help people lift themselves out of extreme poverty.