Budget bills from both Senate and House appropriations committees leave important child-centric initiatives like immunization and anti-malaria programs relatively untouched, signaling strong bipartisan support for global child survival. In more indirect ways, though, global health advocates argue, the House's budget bill takes a dig at child health.
Most of the money for US global health programs comes from the State and Foreign Operations budget, which also funds anti-poverty initiatives. Overall, the House cut foreign aid by $8 million, while the Senate cut it by $2.7 million.
Moving forward, the bills, which got committee approval last week, will go to the House and Senate floors so the general assembly can weigh in. Then the two houses will have to reconcile differences before the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30 — or risk government shutdown.
Both Senate and House verisons of the the State and Foreign Operations budget keep funding at or above FY 2012 levels for maternal and child health, which includes immunization programs. The House met the President’s request for $680 million — a $74 million bump over FY 2012 — and the Senate set aside $706 million. For malaria, which is a leading cause of death for children in the developing world, the House kept spending level at $250 million and the Senate threw in an extra $17 million. Both bills met or exceeded the White House’s recommendations for nutrition and vulnerable children.