As Congress wraps up its work for the year, we are cheering our successes, licking our wounds, and looking ahead to 2015.
All eyes are on what’s in or out of the “Cromnibus,” Congress’s 1600-page spending bill that funds the government through 2015. As the year winds down, we were grateful to see our leaders continue to fund important, life-saving programs like HIV/AIDS, vaccines and agriculture, and heed the urgent call for more funding to stop Ebola. Here’s a quick update on how ONE’s priorities fared in the budget for the upcoming year:
- PEPFAR – our bilateral AIDS program – got $300 million in additional funding. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has provided life-saving treatment to more than 7 million people, and in 2013 alone, the program supported testing and counseling for 57.7 million people.
- Secured $200 million to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. This is a very welcome $25 million increase from Congress, as we continue to push the President to make a pledge of $1 billion over the next four years.
- Passed $5.4 billion in emergency funding for Ebola. This money will provide funding to fight Ebola, help train more health care workers, provide more supplies, and help strengthen health systems. Importantly, as emergency money, this funding does not come at the expense of other core accounts.
- Secured $1 billion in funding for Feed the Future, which isn’t bad. However, the President did not include funding for the multilateral program, GAFSP, in the budget, thus resulting in an overall decrease in agriculture-related funding.
- Stopped harmful food aid language in the Coast Guard bill. Senators Corker and Coons led the charge to block harmful language that would have made a challenging food aid system even more inefficient. Effort to improve the system will continue next year.
- The African Energy bill did not pass. Unfortunately, despite strong last-second efforts, our drive to get language on energy access in Africa passed this year fell short. However, this was a truly amazing campaign that brought the entire organization together. This issue was unknown in Washington just 18 months ago, and we very nearly passed legislation to provide energy access to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa last week. That’s huge. Fortunately, we will not start from zero next year. There is House-Senate compromise language in place and a huge store of goodwill on this initiative on the Hill. I’m confident this will get done and I hope you will continue to help us to see it through.
2015 will have a huge impact on our fight to end extreme poverty, as leaders gather to set new global goals for the next 15 years — the Sustainable Development Goals.
The US will play host for this summit at the UN in New York and we will have many opportunities for our US members to raise their voices. Also in the US, we will look at African trade, health systems strengthening, food aid reform and re-booting our energy campaign.