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Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Global Fund to Fight AIDS

Today, one hundred House members joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) in sending a letter to President Obama encouraging him to make a three-year commitment of at least $6 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This pledge would be consistent with the bipartisan Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 and help achieve the goals of the President's Global Health Initiative.

The Global Fund is on the leading edge of the best practices and principles of effective foreign aid. Recent mid-year results announced this June indicate that the Fund has provided support for anti-retroviral HIV/AIDS treatment for 2.8 million people, while 7 million people have been treated and tested for tuberculosis, and 122 million bed nets have been distributed to prevent malaria.

"Last week I attended the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna to learn about the current state of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and get a sense of how our collective response to is working," said Congresswoman Lee. "There's a lot of concern in the international community that we are not providing the necessary funding to meet our promises to combat this disease. This letter sends a strong message to the President that we are ready to stand with him and make a strong commitment to the global fight by providing $6 billion for the Global Fund over the next three years."

A Copy of the full text of the letter is below.

July 29, 2010

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

As Members of Congress who strongly support U.S. leadership to end the pandemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, we urge your Administration to make a three-year commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria of no less than $6 billion for fiscal years 2012, 2013, and 2014, in addition to any proposed bilateral funding. This level of funding for the Global Fund is consistent with the bipartisan Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 and the Global Health Initiative.

To date the Global Fund has placed 2.8 million people on lifesaving antiretroviral HIV/AIDS treatment, 7 million individuals with tuberculosis have been indentified and placed on treatment, and 122 million bed nets have been distributed to the field to protect the lives of millions, especially women and children. As an example of the power of Global Fund grants, Rwanda has experienced a 64 percent decline in cases of malaria in children and a 66 percent decline in related deaths since 2004. And the situation in Rwanda is not unique.

The Global Fund is currently in its Third-Voluntary Replenishment cycle whereby most donor countries will make a pledge to the Global Fund for the next three years. As the largest contributor to the Global Fund, the U.S. has a critical opportunity to show global leadership in this successful multilateral organization, and ensure that the Fund continues to achieve lasting, country driven results in fighting these three pandemics. While we are well aware of the tough economic times the U.S. is experiencing, many of the countries affected by these three diseases, which kill approximately 5 million people a year, are also exponentially affected by the economic crisis. The crisis exacerbates poverty, furthering the decline of fragile societies.

While the United States is the largest donor to the Global Fund, and the leader in global health worldwide, we must not and should not take on this fight alone. Providing funding to the Global Fund ensures that our tax dollars extend even further, as other donors, both public and private, match funding by contributing more than two dollars for every one dollar the U.S. provides. More importantly, the Global Fund builds capacity at the local level by financing critical health programs while insisting that countries and communities meet measurable benchmarks for which they are accountable. In short, the Global Fund saves lives, and drives a value system that promotes good governance, accountability, and endeavors toward building a stronger, more sustainable society.

Many Global Fund donors look to the United States when determining their contributions. Providing a three-year pledge of $6 billion would leverage additional resources from other donors and send a very important signal to other countries that the U.S. is committed to working with its international partners to combat these three diseases. In addition, the increase in the U.S. contribution contemplated by a multiyear commitment to the Global Fund is consistent with your Administration's funding target and goals for the Global Health Initiative, and is critical to the success of our bilateral global health programs.

The Global Fund estimates that if the United States provides $6 billion over fiscal years 2012-2014, then by 2015 we will have helped to:

* Provide 1.7 million HIV positive people with AIDS medicines;
* Support 1.5 million treatments for patients suffering from TB,
* Distribute 43 million bed nets to people at risk of malaria,
* Supply 240,000 pregnant women with services to prevent mother to child transmission,
* Support 1 million orphans and vulnerable children (OVC's).

Finally, we recognize that multi-year pledges must also include caveats that indicate that any funding would be subject to yearly Congressional appropriations. However, we strongly believe that it is in the best interest of the United States to make a multiyear pledge in order to leverage funding from other donors and gain additional support as we work to empower countries. This investment will help build futures, save lives, and strengthen goodwill between the U.S. and our friends, allies, and partner countries throughout the world.

We urge you to make a strong commitment to supporting the Global Fund and we look forward to working with you to ensure that the promise of the bipartisan Lantos-Hyde Act is fully achieved.

Sincerely,

Rep. Barbara Lee
Rep. Tammy Baldwin
Rep. Shelley Berkley
Rep. Howard Berman
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Rep. Madeleine Bordallo
Rep. Corrine Brown
Rep. G. K. Butterfield
Rep. Lois Capps
Rep. Michael E. Capuano
Rep. Russ Carnahan
Rep. Andre Carson
Rep. Kathy Castor
Rep. Donna M. Christensen
Rep. Yvette D. Clarke
Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver
Rep. John Conyers, Jr.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings
Rep. Danny K. Davis
Rep. Susan A. Davis
Rep. Diana DeGette
Rep. William D. Delahunt
Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro
Rep. Lloyd Doggett
Rep. Donna F. Edwards
Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Eliot L. Engel
Rep. Anna G. Eshoo
Rep. Sam Farr
Rep. Chaka Fattah
Rep. Bob Filner
Rep. Barney Frank
Rep. Marcia L. Fudge
Rep. Alan Grayson
Rep. Al Green
Rep. Gene Green
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva
Rep. Phil Hare
Rep. Alcee L. Hastings
Rep. James A. Himes
Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey
Rep. Rush D. Holt
Rep. Mike Honda
Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
Rep. Hank Johnson
Rep. Dale E. Kildee
Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick
Rep. Rick Larsen
Rep. John Lewis
Rep. Zoe Lofgren
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney
Rep. Edward J. Markey
Rep. Jim McDermott
Rep. James P. McGovern
Rep. Jerry McNerney
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks
Rep. Brad Miller
Rep. George Miller
Rep. Dennis Moore
Rep. Gwen Moore
Rep. James P. Moran
Rep. Jerrold Nadler
Rep. Grace F. Napolitano
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton
Rep. James L. Oberstar
Rep. John W. Olver
Rep. Ed Pastor
Rep. Donald M. Payne
Rep. David E. Price
Rep. Mike Quigley
Rep. Charles B. Rangel
Rep. Laura Richardson
Rep. Steven R. Rothman
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard
Rep. Bobby L. Rush
Rep. Tim Ryan
Rep. Linda Sánchez
Rep. Loretta Sanchez
Rep. John P. Sarbanes
Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky
Rep. Bobby Scott
Rep. Jose E. Serrano
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter
Rep. Heath Shuler
Rep. Albio Sires
Rep. Adam Smith
Rep. Jackie Speier
Rep. Fortney Pete Stark
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson
Rep. Edolphus Towns
Rep. Chris Van Hollen
Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez
Rep. Maxine Waters
Rep. Diane E. Watson
Rep. Melvin L. Watt
Rep. Henry A. Waxman
Rep. Lynn C. Woolsey
Rep. David Wu


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