Earlier this week, the President released his budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, and in similar fashion to previous year’s, has chosen to slash foreign aid funding by 24%.
Concerningly, this includes funding for the President’s Malaria Initiative (reduced to $674 million from $755 million in FY19) and the President Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (reduced to $1.1 billion down from $1.35 billion in FY19), along with a unilateral change in the way funding for the Global Fund is calculated.
At the same time, the budget slashed funding for the two largest U.S.-led programs seeking to end malaria once and for all, the request zeroed out funding for the International Organizations and Programs account, where core contributions for funding for UNICEF and other United Nations agencies, who are essential to the fight, are voluntarily funded.
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.
Fortunately, Congress holds the power of the purse. Over the last three budget requests from this Administration, Congress has continued strong, full funding for the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund, annually funding these programs far above the President’s requested levels.
The Congress has also worked in a bipartisan fashion to ensure foreign affairs funding is prioritized and protected from any cuts suggested by the Administration. While this budget request has already been panned by Congress, it is unfortunate that the Administration will be going into the Global Fund Replenishment in France later this year with a strikingly low funding request and the change in how our share of the funding to the Global Fund will be calculated.
We hope, and believe Congress will, 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.
Interested in learning more? Here’s an interesting article with more information.