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Pepfar Stewardship and Oversight Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HIMES. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Engel for yielding.

I would like to thank the chairman and the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the bipartisanship with which they led this bill and which I think we will accomplish some very good things tomorrow.

The figures around this program speak for themselves: the millions of lives saved, the orphanages which are no longer full, the many pregnant women who will not transmit a deadly virus to their children. These things speak for themselves.

Without question, PEPFAR and the Global Fund are two of the most effective foreign aid programs ever conceived in this Chamber. But Americans might ask in good faith, Why spend money in places like Africa, Asia, and in the Caribbean when the needs are so intense right here at home? And the answer to that question could not be clearer.

Africa and Asia, where PEPFAR and the Global Fund do the most good, are areas of great instability but of great promise, where countries like China are buying up commodities, are exerting their influence, and are throwing their weight around.

We have the opportunity through the continuation of programs such as PEPFAR and the Global Fund to win for generations the hearts and minds of people who will think back on American assistance as the reason that their family had continuity, as the reason that their country continued to develop.

So the question we are answering when we think about continuing these programs and our involvement and our taxpayer dollars should really be, Are we a country that offered the opportunity to continue to save lives? Will we do that? Do we want to save lives, if we can? Do we want to be known just for our economic and military strengths, or do we want to also be known as an unqualified force for good in this world?

I would say that at this point in our history our ability to say that it is not just about economic and military power, but it is about a quality of mercy that we all cherish. And this is a wonderful opportunity for us to say who we are by supporting this legislation.


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