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Senate Committee Approves Bill To Fund State Department Global Health Programs, Global Fund

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted 29-1 to pass a $48.69 billion draft bill to “fund the State Department and foreign affairs activities in fiscal 2010,” CQ reports. “Global health programs would receive $7.8 billion, which is $434 million more than fiscal 2009 funding and $178 million more than the administration request. The bill would provide $5.7 billion to fight HIV/AIDS and $700 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” CQ writes. The amount allocated to the Global Fund exceeds Obama’s request by $100 million but is “in line with fiscal 2009 funding,” according to the news service.

The bill would provide $628.5 million for family planning programs, including $50 million for the U.N. Population Fund. The Senate panel also adopted an amendment by Rep. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., that “would make permanent Obama’s decision earlier this year to revoke a policy prohibiting U.S. aid to overseas organizations that promote or perform abortions,” CQ reports (Webber, 7/9).

“The policy in effect under President George W. Bush had banned U.S. taxpayer money … from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion as a family planning method,” according to AP/Google.com. This amendment would give the Obama policy “the force of law. That means the next Republican president would not be able to put the ban back in place with the stroke of a pen as has been recent practice,” writes the newswire (Taylor, 7/9).

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s press release includes a break down of the bill’s funding (7/9).

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a “$48.8 billion spending bill to bolster U.S. foreign policy and aid efforts,” the Washington Post reports (Pelofsky & Cornwell, 7/9).