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Letter to Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, and Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, Re: PEPFAR Reauthorization Before G-8 Summit

Lugar, Republican Colleagues Urge Consideration of PEPFAR Reauthorization Before G-8 Summit

Thursday, May 22, 2008

U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and 13 Republican colleagues today sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to urge Senate floor consideration of S. 2731, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008. The Senators believe that reauthorization before the July G-8 Summit in Japan will provide President Bush leverage to seek additional commitments from international partners.

The House passed its version of the reauthorization bill on April 2.

In addition to Lugar, the signatories included John Sununu (R-NH), the other Republican original co-sponsor of S. 2731, in addition to: Thad Cochran (R-MS), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mel Martinez (R-FL), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and John Warner (R-VA).

The text of the letter is below:

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Majority Leader and Mr. Minority Leader:

We are writing to urge you to act expeditiously in scheduling floor time for the consideration of S. 2731, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008.

The programs the Act would reauthorize -- the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) and tuberculosis programs -- have had an enormously positive effect in combating these diseases in Africa and throughout the developing world. PEPFAR is on schedule to achieve its topline goals of supporting treatment for 2 million AIDS patients with life-saving antiretroviral therapies, preventing the transmission of 7 million new cases of the disease, and supporting care for 10 million people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, including orphans and vulnerable children. Through its multilateral efforts, the U.S. will have also supported the distribution of 46 million mosquito bed nets to protect families from malaria.

Since its inception, PEPFAR has enjoyed broad bipartisan support and strong cooperation between the Executive and Legislative branches. PEPFAR also has served as a powerful demonstration of U.S. leadership and compassion throughout the world. As the President witnessed during his recent trip to Africa, U.S. investments in PEPFAR are paying major dividends both by creating a more positive global perception of the United States and by bringing stability and hope to strategic regions across the globe.

By passing this legislation soon, we will enable the President to take this commitment to the G-8 meeting in Japan in early July and to use it to leverage additional commitments from our international partners. Moreover, we need to act now in order to send a clear message to PEPFAR recipients that the United States is fully committed to continuing the success of this program and to expanding our efforts to fight the pandemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Thank you for your consideration, and we hope that you will act swiftly to bring this critically important piece of legislation to the floor.

Sincerely,


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