What We're Reading: Congressional Spending Cuts Threaten Global Health Programs
February 15, 2011
This week, the buzz in Washington, D.C. and on Capitol Hill is all about the budget.
Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives released a new spending proposal for this fiscal year, which includes significant cuts to foreign aid – including more than $500 million in cuts for global HIV and AIDS programs.
These lifesaving efforts are now at risk, even though foreign assistance represents less than one percent of the overall federal U.S. budget.
U.S. Capitol Building
In response earlier this week, Tommy Thompson – former Governor of Wisconsin and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – wrote an article in the Huffington Post
outlining why it’s important to continue funding global health efforts.
Thompson argues that programs like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
– which provides important medical services to children and families living with HIV and AIDS worldwide – are successful models for health diplomacy and should be replicated in U.S. foreign assistance efforts.
In his article, Thompson connects health diplomacy with improving national security efforts, lowering political unrest, and advancing economic success around the world. Thompson calls on Congress to reach across the aisle and make global health an “American issue.”
Similarly, in Tuesday’s Washington Post
, Michael Gerson comments on the current U.S. funding outlook, pointing to the success of national malaria programs in Senegal as an example of why U.S. investment in these programs must continue.
Over the past few years, the commitment of Congress to support global health programs has resulted in improved health for millions of men, women, and children.
These programs are focused on saving lives – and money – with smart investments. (Read our previous blog about program innovations and efficiencies in PEPFAR
As both Thompson and Gerson allude to, proposed cuts to the international affairs budget threaten to jeopardize these important, and lifesaving, humanitarian programs.
to take action in support of children and families with HIV.
Jen Pollakusky is a Senior Public Policy and Advocacy Officer for Africa, based in Washington, D.C.