Earlier this week, ONE welcomed the passage of the State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies (SFOPS) bill in the House of Representatives.
The Senate Appropriations Committee completed its work on June 19. Both bills provide urgently needed funding for the life-saving programs for which ONE advocates.
However, there were some critical differences between the two versions that will need to be fixed in a House-Senate Conference Committee. But before that can happen, both will have to face consideration and votes on the floors of the respective chambers.
Here is the breakdown on some of ONE’s priorities:
1. The House provided $4.320 billion for the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) while the Senate provided only $4.02 billion. The House number represents a $300 million increase over FY ’14 for PEPFAR. This is the number ONE will advocate for at the conference.
2. Both bills provided $ 1.35 billion for the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. This number is down by $300 million from FY ’14 because the US has reached the statutory contribution cap of one-third of the global contribution per year.
3. GAVI received $200 million in both bills. This is a $25 million increase over FY ’14. This is the number that ONE advocated, and we’re thrilled that it has bipartisan support.
4. The Millennium Challenge Corporation was provided $898.2 million by House Appropriators with the Senate level set at $901 billion. The House kept the FY ’14 level for FY ‘15, while the Senate increased its funding by $2.8 million. ONE had recommended MCC be funded at $1.2 billion.
5. While the Senate funded Feed the Future at $1 billion, the House only provided spending authority for this agriculture development account, but did not set a specific level. The House usually does not set a specific funding level for Feed the Future, rather it draws its funding from a larger account based on actual annual program needs.
While the overall numbers are promising, and closely reflect the funding levels ONE has advocated, our work is far from over.
If Congress follows regular order, each bill will be considered on the floors of both chambers where they may be subject to amendments that could cut money, amendments to transfer money out of our core accounts or pose other dangers to the life-saving programs for which we have fought so valiantly over the years.
So we need to be vigilant. Once these bills make it to conference, where the House and Senate will iron out their differences, we need to ensure that these core programs receive the higher funding amounts.
While the team in DC will surely do its part to make this happen, the real difference will be made in the States and Congressional Districts by the hard-charging ONE members. Good luck!