On June 24, the President signed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019 (PAHPAI) into law (supported by ASTMH). Members of Congress are also continuing to advance efforts to combat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) with legislation expected to be introduced later this July. Already, there is legislation in the House (H.R. 3460) that seeks to expand the role of USAID’s Neglected Tropical Diseases Program to provide further assistance to aid efforts to eliminate NTDs.
While the House moved quickly to pass funding bills for FY 2020, the Senate continues to wait to see a final budget deal before moving forward with their appropriations bills. The budget deal will set top line spending numbers for FY 2020 – inevitably changing any funding levels currently included in the bills. In addition, a budget deal is necessary to avoid triggering automatic sequestration cuts across all defense and non-defense discretionary programs.
Looking further down the road and with so much work remaining, it’s increasingly unlikely that Congress will have funding bills ready by the September 30 deadline. It’s now expected that Congress will move to pass a short-term continuing resolution to keep government programs open and operating and some bipartisan cooperation will be required to ensure we prevent another government shutdown.
In the meantime, House and Senate leaders remain in active negotiations with the Administration over another deal to raise the debt limit. All parties were previously working under the assumption that plans to raise the debt ceiling would be combined with a budget deal, but new data shows the debt limit might require more immediate attention with lawmakers being forced to address the issue in early September or risk default.
Lastly, it’s hot and sticky July and the Congressional calendar has few days left before members and staff leave for the August recess. The House will be out beginning July 26 and the Senate will follow a week later. Both plan to return after Labor Day with business resuming in September.