House Appropriations Bill a positive step for mothers and children worldwide

News Hour:

Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) today applauded the funding levels for maternal and child health, migration & refugee assistance and several other accounts provided by the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee in its fiscal year (FY) 17 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill. The Committee approved the bill on July 12th.

The bill increases funding for the Maternal and Child Health account to a total of $997 million, which includes a $275 million contribution to GAVI and $132.5 million for UNICEF. This represents an increase of almost $75 million in core maternal and child health funding, exceeding the President’s FY17 Budget Request, as well as an increase in the U.S. government’s contribution to GAVI by $40 million, putting the U.S. government closer to realizing its pledge of $1 billion over four years.

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“We’ve seen preventable child deaths fall by more than half in the past two decades, but there is more work to do,” said Mark Shriver, President of SCAN. “The strong support for maternal and child health within this appropriations bill can help bring us that much closer to achieving our shared goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths around the world.”

The bill also provides funding equal to the FY16 enacted levels for Nutrition, Migration & Refugee Assistance, International Disaster Assistance, Food Security and Agriculture (including Feed the Future) and Basic Education accounts.

“The House Appropriations Committee made several important investments for children in its markup of the FY17 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill, including its robust funding for maternal and child health and continued support for other accounts that critically impact children around the world,” said Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children. “However, we are deeply concerned by the funding cap placed on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and how this will impact refugee resettlement in the U.S. at a time when there are more than 21 million refugees around the world.”

The legislation stipulates that no more than $394.25 million can be spent on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).

The Administration has announced plans to resettle 100,000 refugees in the next fiscal year and requested $567.5 million to implement this policy. The unprecedented funding cap set in this bill would reduce funding for refugee resettlement to below FY15 spending levels of $407 million, which served to resettle 70,000 refugees, and drastically below the estimated FY16 spending of $507 million to resettle 85,000 refugees.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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