2021 White House Budget Proposal Threatens Public Health

Posted 12 February 2020

Arlington, Va. (February 12, 2020) — The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), the largest international scientific organization of tropical infectious disease experts, warns that the White House’s 2021 budget proposal released Monday is short-sighted and threatens the health and safety of Americans at home and abroad.
The Trump Administration’s proposal includes drastic reductions to the following: 
  • Nearly $39 million cut from the CDC’s Center for Global Health funding 
  • More than $85 million cut from the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases 
  • 34 percent from global health programs at USAID and the State Department, including a 58 percent cut to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and $27 million cut from funding for neglected tropical diseases, from $102 million to $75 million (26%), and a $61 million reduction in bilateral malaria funding (8%)
  • And while the White House has carved out $50 million for global health security funding for disease detection and emergencies like the current COVID-19 outbreak, that boost comes at the same time they cut international HIV/AIDS programs (by about $58 million) and some global immunization programs. We risk increasing the rates of these diseases around the world and within U.S. borders as well.
These drastic reductions are sure to cause a drag on progress made in scientific research to diagnose, track, prevent and treat infectious diseases. Such a move will hamstring the ability of the scientific community to efficiently and cost-effectively protect Americans from outbreaks of diseases that we know are going to happen. We are seeing it with Ebola and COVID-19.
Diseases do not stop at geographical or political borders. Every American deserves to have their tax dollars go to work protecting them from infectious diseases and keeping the U.S. at the forefront of scientific innovation. Scaling back when we face threats of deadly viruses and will continue to face them in the future makes no sense at all. Global health is America’s health, and prudent investment is the wiser path to take.