GHTC statement on the President’s FY 2020 budget
For the third consecutive year, the Trump administration has proposed significant cuts to critical government programs that advance innovation to improve the health of millions of people in need around the world, including Americans. The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) is deeply concerned by President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget proposal. If enacted, the funding reductions proposed would undermine the United States’ legacy of global leadership in the development of vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and other technologies for neglected diseases and conditions that affect the world’s most vulnerable people.
The proposal cuts funding to global health research and development (R&D) at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and National Institutes of Health (NIH). If enacted, groundbreaking research and the creation of new tools to address the world’s greatest global health challenges would slow or stop. These cuts would also weaken global health security, undermining our ability to prevent and contain disease outbreaks. For example:
- The elimination of HIV/AIDS research funding at USAID in the proposal would threaten progress towards game-changing innovations to prevent HIV/AIDS. As the administration proposes bold goals to counter the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, it is critical to continue supporting R&D for new approaches to defeat AIDS in America and beyond. This is just one example of this proposal’s potential impact on global health R&D in the International Affairs account—overall, the proposed 28 percent cut to global health programs at USAID and the State Department threatens decades of lifesaving progress and runs counter to our international interests.
- Reduced funding for CDC’s global health activities at the Center for Global Health (CGH) and the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) would further constrain an agency already under-resourced to address the magnitude and range of health challenges we face. While GHTC welcomes the administration’s continued commitment to and investment in global health security efforts, this increased funding should not come at the expense of other vital CGH programs that support R&D of technologies and other activities to detect, prevent, and respond to health threats. Likewise, proposed reductions to NCEZID programs that develop interventions to combat infectious diseases run counter to the administration’s global health security goals and will directly compromise domestic and international preparedness.
- The proposed cut of more than US$4.5 billion to NIH would erode America’s leadership in medical research—leadership Congress has bolstered by increasing funding for NIH by $5 billion over the past three years. Disproportionate cuts to the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Fogarty International Center at NIH would jeopardize the development of new tools for global health threats like Ebola and undermine research collaborations with other countries who serve as key partners and allies in mitigating global disease threats.
While the proposal’s cuts to global health programs at USAID, the State Department and essential research activities at CDC and NIH are worrisome, GHTC was pleased to see steady funding for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and a funding boost for the Food and Drug Administration included in the budget request. These entities play important roles in the global health R&D ecosystem, and GHTC appreciates the administration’s recognition of their contributions.
“The United States is the global leader in research and development of new tools for the world’s most pressing health challenges—benefiting Americans at home and communities around the world,” said Jamie Bay Nishi, GHTC’s Director. “Cutting funding for global health R&D programs at USAID, CDC, and NIH would undermine decades of patient investment in R&D which is on the cusp of delivering ground-breaking new tools to prevent, treat, and respond to the most pressing global health challenges and health emergencies. We have seen past budget cuts shelve promising research on tools for threats like Ebola and cannot afford to be caught empty-handed for the next health crisis.”
Strong congressional support for global health R&D has maintained and increased funding for this lifesaving work despite past proposals for cuts by the Trump administration, and we urge Congress to continue its history of bipartisan support for global health and medical research and for a third year in a row reject this short-sighted budget proposal.