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PATH Statement on the US President's Proposed Federal Budget

March 16, 2017 by PATH

Proposed Cuts to Global Health Programs and Research Would Stifle Innovation and Make the World—and America—Less Healthy and Less Secure

Contact:
Kate Davidson | (206) 302-4637 | media@path.org

March 16, 2017—Today the US Administration sent its proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 to Congress. The budget includes extensive cuts to global health and development programs, including approximately a one-third cut to the Department of State and the US Agency for International Development, as well as cuts to vital research programs funded through the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PATH opposes these cuts and believes they will make the world—and America—less healthy and less secure, while also stifling innovation. A statement from PATH's President and CEO Steve Davis follows:

"Global health and development programs save lives, foster healthier, more prosperous communities, and create a safer, more secure world. The cuts proposed to these programs represent a threat to the health of millions of people around the world—including Americans. At the same time, proposed cuts to scientific research threaten to stifle innovation, which has driven so much of the progress we have seen in the past two decades.

Recent outbreaks of Ebola and Zika made painfully clear that no one is immune to disease outbreaks, and that the world is unprepared for the next threat. It is not a question of if, but when another outbreak will occur, and US government leadership has been instrumental to global efforts to better prevent outbreaks from becoming widespread epidemics. Now is not the time to pull back. Epidemics not only threaten lives, but also cost billions of dollars and disrupt entire economies, when they could be prevented at just a fraction of the cost.

The budget also proposes deep cuts to scientific research, which would not only risk health and safety, but also dampen innovation. Robust research and development efforts are critical to ensure we have tools to tackle the health challenges we face today, and that we are able to quickly respond as new threats emerge. These innovations pay dividends not only in health outcomes, but also as drivers of economic growth. Further, relatively small public-sector investments have the power of catalyzing private-sector engagement, which we have seen at unprecedented levels in recent years. Harnessing the capacity and eagerness of private-sector companies to solve global challenges is essential to tackling complex challenges around the world. These budget cuts will stymie our ability to do so.

Global health and scientific research have historically earned bipartisan support, and we urge Congress to protect these vital programs. There is too much at risk if they do not."