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).
Since 2006, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) NTD Program has improved the lives of over 680 million people, delivered more than 1.4 billion NTD treatments and trained over 500,000 community workers. Operating in 25 countries, the program has distributed more than $11.1 billion worth of donated medicines to treat the most common NTDs.
Funding for the USAID NTD program steadily increased over the years, reaching $100 million in FY 2014. Despite strong evidence of the success of the NTD Program, President Obama has repeatedly recommended cutting NTD funding to $86.5 million, a 13.5 percentage decrease that threatens the progress of the last decade. Last year, Congress approved the omnibus spending bill for FY16, including a $100 million for the USAID’s Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Program. This marks the third year in a row that Congress maintained funding for the NTD Program, allocating $13.5 million more than the amount proposed in the president’s budget. President Obama’s latest fiscal year 2017 budget request again cuts funding for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
The estimated annual funding gap for global NTD programs is just $220 million. Global leaders in this movement – the United States, United Kingdom and other G7 governments – should provide a modest increase in their investments to close the funding gap to reach WHO control and elimination goals. The NTD community has called for $125 million in funding for the USAID NTD Program to allow USAID to expand its efforts to distribute donated medicines pledged by pharmaceutical companies.
Funding for USAID's NTD Program
On April 15, 2015, 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. Cosponsors of the bill include Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Rep. Henrcy C. “Hank,” Jr. Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), and Rep. Al. Green (D-TX). Last year, a similar bill was introduced by Congressman Smith in the House of Representatives.
H.R. 1797, the “End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act,” expands programs to address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that disproportionately impact individuals living in extreme poverty, especially in developing countries. The legislation calls for the expansion of USAID’s NTD program by adding disease management to treatment plans, addressing additional NTDs, and establishing a research and development program.
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.
Please click here to track progress and read more about H.R. 1797.
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