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International Family Planning Receives Boost from House Subcommittee

July 01, 2010

The House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday approved $735 million for international family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) programs, $20 million more than what President Obama requested in his budget. The increase, which includes $60 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), was approved as part of a larger FY2011 appropriation bill for the State Department and U.S. foreign assistance programs.

The increase, still subject to approval by the full House and Senate, represents a 13 percent increase above the $648.5 million appropriated last year.  Subcommittee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY18) supported the increase even though the bill’s overall funding level was $4 billion less than the amount requested by the Administration.

Robert J. Walker, Executive Vice President of the Population Institute, said, “Chairwoman Lowey and the other members of the subcommittee are to be congratulated for their commitment to family planning and reproductive health.  In a tight budget environment, this is an important victory. Still, the amount that was approved is significantly lower than the $1 billion level being advocated by supporters of international family planning assistance.”

Walker warned that, “We’re not out of the woods yet.” Although the next fiscal year begins on October 1, it’s likely that the State Department and many other federal agencies will be funded at current levels until Congress can reach a final budget agreement later in the year.  “Until then,” Walker said, “we have to let Congress know how vital international family planning assistance is to women, their families, economic development, and the environment.”

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