As Together Women Rise advocates, we mostly work on two kinds of legislation –authorizing legislation and appropriations legislation. Authorizing legislation creates and/or expands programs that have authority for multiple years and need to be reauthorized. An example would be the global nutrition bills that we’ve been working on recently, HR4693 and S2956.
We also advocate for appropriations legislation, which funds the U.S. government on an annual, fiscal year (FY) basis (October 1 – September 30). The appropriations process starts with the President’s budget, released this year on March 29th. For those who want to dive deeply, you can explore the President’s budget here. After the President’s budget is released, Congress creates a budget resolution which guides the spending levels for the government for the upcoming fiscal year. The Appropriations Committee takes that spending guidance and allocates it to federal government programs.
Right now, our advocacy is focused on FY23 funding for global health which is handled through the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of Appropriations, also known as SFOPS. There are 12 subcommittees of appropriations, and SFOPS funds international development assistance programs, including those that serve women and families. To make things more interesting, there are SFOPS in both the House and the Senate, and we advocate to both.
The sub-committees of the Appropriations Committee gather input on how to spend the money via hearings, direct input from Representatives/Senators, sign-on letters, and conversations. As constituents, we have the opportunity to encourage our members of Congress to support specific funding levels for programs, either by asking them to sign “Dear Colleague” letters or by completing an appropriations request form through their offices.
The current RESULTS’ memos are advocating for three things in the appropriations process for FY23:
- $300 million for Global Nutrition within USAID Global Health
- $2 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund)
- $1 billion for USAID’s global Tuberculosis program
The reason these three programs have been chosen are that:
- Nutrition is a human right and children deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential.
- People everywhere, regardless of their income, should have access to testing and treatment for diseases we know how to address.
- Investing in global health benefits all of us—those who have direct access and the global community.
And remember, last month’s blog highlighted that HIV and Tuberculosis are women’s issues as they are major causes of disease and deaths among women.
Due to imminent deadlines, you may not be able to influence your Representative by the time you read this, but you can contact your Senators and make these requests. You can get more information and follow the action alerts here and join us in taking action together for global health.