Congress’ responsibility in setting the federal budget plays an important role in determining the United States’ global health priorities, including the fight against NTDs.
Congress first allocated funding specifically for NTD control and elimination efforts in fiscal year (FY) 2006, with an initial investment of $15 million in the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) new NTD program. Since then, Congress has continued to demonstrate leadership on the issue by steadily increasing funding for NTDs. In FY 2014, Congress ramped up U.S. NTD funding from $85.5 million ($89 million less five percent for sequestration) the year before to $100 million, despite the fact that overall funding for U.S. foreign programs was cut by $4.3 billion.
Despite the strong evidence of the success of USAID’s NTD Program, President Obama’s FY15 budget request recommended cutting NTD funding by more than 13 percent, down to just $86.5 million. In answer, the Global Network rallied its grassroots supporters to sign a petition to Chairwoman Kay Granger and Ranking Member Nita Lowey of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, to protect funding for NTD treatment.
Ongoing Congressional support for USAID’s NTD Program is evidence of lawmakers’ strong belief in the value and impact of U.S. NTD and global health programs. The Global Network works to ensure that lawmakers are kept up-to-date on advances in NTD control and elimination, share NTD success stories and encourage the U.S. to maintain its position as a key leader in the global fight against NTDs.
On June 11, 2014, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced a bipartisan bill in the 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 last year’s Subcommittee 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 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 – 113th Congress
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 – 113th 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. 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)
- 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