July 17, 2008

FY09 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bills Passed by both House Appropriations Subcommittee and Senate Appropriations Committee; Senate Reauthorizes PEPFAR

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved on July 17th its version of the FY09 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, following action by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs on July 16th as it approved its own version of the bill. Both bills provide $36.6 billion in funding and represent the largest component of the FY09 International Affairs Budget. While the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have passed only half their respective bills, expect Congress to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government operating at FY08 levels through March 2009.

By an impressive margin of 80 to 16, the Senate voted yesterday to reauthorize the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, providing $48 billion to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis around the world and rejecting Republican amendments to decrease funding. The legislation triples funding for the program and is targeted to prevent 12 million HIV infections and treat three million people over the next five years.  PEPFAR, the world’s largest anti-AIDS program, has so far treated over 1.5 million people with HIV/AIDS.