Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) was joined by 102 Members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations requesting robust funding for vital global health programs in Fiscal Year 2012. Specifically, the Members requested that appropriators support the Senate's proposed funding level for bilateral and multilateral global health programs, including $5.25 billion for the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and $1.05 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
"U.S.-funded research resulted in enormous progress in shaping the response to AIDS and malaria worldwide," said Congresswoman Lee, co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. "PEPFAR and the Global Fund are reducing disease burden in low and middle-income countries, and these programs have important national security and diplomatic elements for the United States."
Global health programs amount to a fraction of one percent of the federal budget, but they affect the lives of tens of millions, guard against future conflicts, open up developing markets, and will have lasting impact on the global AIDS epidemic in the long term. As a recent UNAIDS report shows, 34 million people are living with HIV globally. Only 50% of all people eligible for HIV treatment in the world now have access, while 7.6 million people await treatment, including more than 5,000 people in the United States. Additionally, in 2010 alone, 1.8 million people died of AIDS-related illness, underscoring that AIDS remains the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime.
"The science of AIDS prevention has been transformed over the last 18 months, and America cannot abandon these efforts now," Lee continued. "Now more than ever, we must leverage our scientific tools with our will to defeat this epidemic -- and provide adequate funding to reduce transmission rates, save lives, and remain a global leader in this fight."
November 21, 2011
Dear Chairmen Leahy and Granger, and Ranking Members Graham and Lowey:
As you begin negotiations on a final Fiscal Year 2012 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill, we write to respectfully request that you secure funding for bilateral and multilateral HIV/AIDS programs at the levels proposed in S.1601, Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2012.
We urge support for $7.9 billion for global health programs contained in the Senate mark. More specifically, we urge you to support, at the very least, $5.25 billion for the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and $750 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as explicitly allocated in S. 1601. In total, we support $1.05 billion for the Global Fund (of which $300 million is contained in the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill). Moreover, we are strongly opposed to language contained in the House Subcommittee Mark prohibiting funding for syringe exchange programs, which are proven to reduce the incidence of HIV infection.
U.S. global health programs including PEPFAR, along with U.S. contributions to the Global Fund, are reducing disease burden in low- and middle-income countries, and these programs have important national security and diplomatic elements for the United States. Global health programs directly impact American security interests by stabilizing parts of the world where extremism and a lack of alternatives are a recipe for future conflict. The economic impact of global health activities is also felt in the U.S., providing thousands of jobs to help plan and implement global health programming and to conduct health-related research at colleges and universities.
Thanks to the help of the United States, the Global Fund has grown into a proven, country-driven, performance-based mechanism which ensures that countries themselves are responsible for building their own sustainable programs. The Global Fund has a robust history of improving its function and continues to do so through its recent announcement of an improvements agenda to further ensure every dollar is utilized effectively, remains accountable, and is transparent in operation.
We also welcome PEPFAR's leadership on advancing combination HIV prevention approaches and urge the conferees to ensure that these interventions are implemented to their fullest and meet the needs of those most at-risk, especially marginalized populations. Moreover, integration of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment programs--and, where appropriate, other critical global health programs funded by this bill, including maternal health, child survival, family planning/reproductive health, and nutrition--is critical for ensuring that the health needs of individuals are met and the impact of funding is maximized.
In recent months, US-funded research has made enormous progress in shaping the response to AIDS and malaria worldwide. These remarkable scientific advances call for a renewed emphasis on ensuring that we maintain robust support for PEPFAR and the Global Fund and continue the vital U.S. commitment to the fight against global HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.
These programs amount to a fraction of one percent of the federal budget, but they affect the lives of tens of millions, guard against future conflicts, open up developing markets, and will have lasting impact on the global AIDS epidemic in the long term.
Thank you for considering this request.
Member of Congress
Wm. Lacy Clay
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Sheila Jackson Lee
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chris Van Hollen