Ros-Lehtinen Co-sponsors Initiative to Accelerate U.S. Response to Outbreak of Strain of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) today joined with U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) to sponsor an amendment redirecting U.S. foreign assistance funds to fight drug-resistant tuberculosis most commonly found in Africa.
The Payne/Ros-Lehtinen provision amends the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, and provides an additional $100 million for the Child Survival and Health Programs Fund for prevention and treatment of drug resistant TB. The Fund is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The amendment increases funds for anti-TB programs by reducing $75 million from Economic Security Funds administered by the U.S. Department of State and a $25 million reduction in the U.S. contribution to the Asian Development Bank.
The amendment is expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives during consideration of the legislation on Thursday. Ros-Lehtinen serves as Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Payne is chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health.
The drug resistant strain, known as XDR-TB, recently made headlines after an Atlanta man traveled internationally while sick with the strain, setting off an international emergency response. The first reported outbreak in South Africa killed 52 of 53 patientshalf within 16 days. The drug-resistant stain has now been reported in 37 countries, including the US, Canada and Mexico.
"We must heed the warning signs and act quickly to contain the outbreak of this killer TB," Ros-Lehtinen said. "Our vital interests demand that we do everything humanly possible to snuff out any outbreak wherever it occurs," she added.