The U.S. Congress is responsible for setting the federal budget and plays an important role in determining the United States’ global health priorities, including the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
The Congress first allocated funding specifically for NTD control and elimination efforts in fiscal year (FY) 2006, with an initial investment of $15 million to the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) establishing a new NTD initiative. Since then, the NTD Program has improved the lives of over 460 million people, delivered more than 1 billion NTD treatments and trained over 500,000 community workers. Operating in 25 countries, the program has exceeded expectations in its ability to deliver treatments for the seven most common NTDs, leveraging more than $6.7 billion worth of donated medicines.
Funding for the USAID’s NTD program has steadily increased, reaching a consecutive highpoint of $100 million in FY 2014 and in FY 2015. Despite the strong evidence of the success of the NTD Program, President Obama’s FY 2016 budget request, recommends cutting NTD funding to only $86.5 million, a 17 percentage decrease from the FY 2015 funding level that would reverse many of the NTD elimination results achieved so far.
The Global Network has joined with other NTD and global health partners to stop this trend and urge Congress to increase funding for NTDs to $125 million. This additional funding of $25 million will allow USAID to further maximize the benefits of the increased drug donations received from pharmaceutical companies, conduct impact assessment surveys to measure progress and increase the impact of this successful public-private partnership. If funding for USAID’s NTD Program is cut to the budget level proposed in the President’s FY 2016 budget, the capacity to deliver the increased drug donations to those who need them most will be significantly reduced and we may see a resurgence of many NTDs.
Funding for USAID's NTD Program
On June 11, 2014, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced a bipartisan bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to support the control and elimination of NTDs in the United States and abroad. Original co-sponsors of the bill include Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ).
H.R. 4847, the “End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act,” takes a broad approach to supporting the control and elimination of NTDs, both in the U.S. and abroad. The legislation calls for the expansion of USAID’s NTD program; increased U.S. Government advocacy for NTDs among international development and financing institutions; reporting from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on NTDs in the United States; the creation of one or more NTD centers of excellence to increase research and development; and the establishment of a panel on intestinal worm infections.
The End Neglected Diseases Act was sparked by the Subcommittee's 2013’s hearing on “Addressing the Neglected Diseases Treatment Gap” conducted by Chairman Smith, which included testimony from Dr. Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and other NTD experts. Congressman Smith will likely reintroduce the bill in the 114th Congress.
Please click here to read more about H.R. 4847, including reactions from experts at the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Global Network.
Caucuses and Working Groups
In both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, groups of legislators with an interest in pursuing legislative action regarding particular topics often form into caucuses, working groups or task forces. There are currently groups in both the House and the Senate working on NTD-related issues.
The Senate Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases and the Congressional Caucus on Malaria and NTDs are bipartisan efforts to raise awareness of the United States’ and the international community’s fight against malaria and NTDs. The Congressional Caucus expanded in 2009 to address NTDs as well as malaria, while the Senate Caucus expanded to include NTDs in 2012.
Members of the Senate Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases – 114thCongress
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Members of the Congressional Caucus on Malaria and NTDs – 114th Congress
Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-GA)
Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA)
Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC),
Rep. Steven Cohen (D-TN)
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI)
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY)
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Rep. Gene Green (D-TX)
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT)
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
- The U.S. Government and Global Neglected Tropical Diseases
- Global Health Briefing Book entitled, “Taking Stock: Why U.S. Investments in Global Health Matter” launched by the Global Health Council in conjunction with Advocates for Development
- Interaction’s FY2015 Choose to Invest report: Neglected Tropical Diseases
- Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government Response to Global Neglected Tropical Diseases
- Testimony from Dr. Peter Hotez before the House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Committee on Appropriations
- U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: Budget Center
- Addressing the Neglected Diseases Treatment Gap: Testimony from Dr. Peter Hotez before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Testimony from Dr. Neeraj Mistry before the House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Committee on Appropriations
- U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
- U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
- U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- U.S House Committee on Appropriations/ Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs