UNICEF USA welcomes the enactment of legislation to fund the U.S. Government for FY 2021, as well as to provide additional COVID-19 relief.
We appreciate that the U.S. Congress again recognized the importance of U.S. foreign assistance programs that help people experiencing poverty around the world. In particular, Congress again provided $134 million as the U.S. Government’s voluntary contribution to UNICEF’s core resources, in support of UNICEF’s indispensable work for children globally.
The final agreement also included $4 billion for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. That funding will be critical to ensure lower-income nations have equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. This funding is important, but Gavi and UNICEF will require much more funding in coming months to build a global response that protects the United States from the disease and from the instability that COVID-19 causes around the world.
UNICEF USA also welcomes the additional COVID-19 support for hard-hit people and organizations, including the Paycheck Protection Program, unemployment insurance, direct payments and support for broadband internet access and child care. Congress rightly ensured that mixed-status families (in which one spouse has a Social Security number) can access these payments; we hope the next Congress will finally include families with U.S. citizen children whose parents don’t have Social Security numbers, who are still excluded from these payments.
As the 116th Congress comes to a close, we are especially grateful to House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey, who has been a driving force for UNICEF and for children during her time in Congress. We at UNICEF USA deeply appreciate her leadership.
Top photo: Five-month-old Soro Issuf waits for his turn to be vaccinated in the Regional Hospital of Korhogo, in the North of Côte d'Ivoire. © UNICEF/UNI325596// Frank Dejongh