U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Dick Lugar has removed his objections to the U.S. State Department transferring $250 million from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to the multilateral Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
"As part of the International AIDS Conference, I have had to opportunity to visit with a number of key players in the fight against HIV/AIDS including Bill Gates, our PEPFAR Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, Global Fund General Manager Gabriel Jamillo, Global Fund Chairman of the Board Simon Bland, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidebe, former PEPFAR Coordinator Ambassador Mark Dybul, and US Executive Director of the ONE Campaign Tom Hart," Lugar said.
Last month, Lugar told Secretary Clinton that he was concerned about the State Department's proposal to transfer $250 million from the bilateral PEPFAR program to the multilateral Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. "My biggest concern about the transfer was the shortfalls this may cause in our bilateral efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. The leaders I met with this week expressed their confidence that the money is a worthy investment, and given their strong leadership I have decided to lift my hold on the transfer funds," Lugar said.
"HIV/AIDS relief, in the form of programs such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has a history of bipartisan support. It is important for these programs to continue with support from both Republicans and Democrats. Additionally, as we continue the important work to eradicate HIV/AIDS, we must engage the youth of the world through various social media platforms to combat this disease."
In 2003, under the leadership of Senator Lugar as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Congress passed, in a bipartisan manner, the PEPFAR which was reauthorized, with Lugar's support, in 2008. He continues to be an ardent defender of funding for the program. Lugar was also the author of the Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005 and he continues to fight for HIV/AIDS funding to serve these children.