The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved HR1567, a bill authorizing additional funds to combat tuberculosis worldwide.

Rep. Eliot Engel’s (D-NY) original version of the bill would have provided at least $330 million in 2008 and at least $450 million in 2009, with additional monies allocated if needed to fight what he called “the greatest curable infectious killer on the planet.” The measure would also have directed $15 million annually to the Global Drug Facility, which has provided TB drugs to 10 million people since 2001.

The committee version, however, amended Engel’s bill so that a maximum of $400 million for 2008 and a maximum of $550 for could be spent in 2009 to fight global TB.

The measure also would specify that of the amounts authorized, no more than $70 million in FY 2008 and $100 million in FY 2009 could be used for global TB programs through CDC.

The bill amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 by adding TB control as a primary goal of the US foreign assistance program with the goal of bringing down the number of worldwide TB cases and deaths to 50% of their current level by 2015.