FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement from Natasha Bilimoria, President of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, on the Markup of the FY2012 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
Washington, D.C., July 27, 2011 — Today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs marked up its FY2012 bill, which includes an 18% cut from the President’s FY2012 request. The substantial reduction in the Global Health and Child Survival funding level — which includes such important bipartisan-supported programs as PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — is particularly troubling.
The Global Fund is the world’s most open, transparent, and accountable multilateral entity. Not only does it publish full audit reports on its public Web site, it has six layers of fiduciary controls, an ongoing and highly successful reform agenda and has appointed a high-level independent panel of experts to ensure it continues to set the highest possible standards. Nevertheless, this bill contains provisions that could prevent the Global Fund from making future improvements to expand transparency and accountability. We should congratulate the Global Fund for its outstanding progress, not threaten its funding in this way.
The programs in this bill provide assistance for the poorest and most vulnerable, demonstrate U.S. leadership, enhance security and stability and create U.S. jobs, yet account for less than 1% of the budget. Improving the health and lives of people in developing countries is a bipartisan issue. It is disappointing to see such drastic cuts to programs that represent an incredible return on U.S. investment and that save millions of lives every year.
With massive ground gained in recent years in treatment and prevention of deadly diseases, we are on the brink of achieving significant global health goals. It is within our grasp within the next few years to virtually eliminate motherto-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and rid malaria-endemic countries of this preventable and curable disease. Today’s improved health tools and technology can now put a stop to the spread of these devastating diseases. The proposed cuts jeopardize this critical progress and could halt access to lifesaving care. But this is not just a humanitarian issue. Cuts of this size will also undermine U.S. leadership, weaken our security, and harm our economy.
Friends of the Global Fight is fully aware of the unprecedented budget environment and the difficult choices faced by Congress. This underscores the importance of focusing on high-impact and innovative programs like the Global Fund. As this bill moves to full Committee and the Senate, we strongly urge Members of Congress to protect the investments that are working — and to continue to support the goal of healthier, more productive communities worldwide.
FRIENDS OF THE GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS AND MALARIA
Friends of the Global Fight works to end the worldwide burden of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We educate, engage and mobilize U.S. decision makers to support the Global Fund, the world’s largest public health financier. For more information about Friends of the Global Fight, visit www.TheGlobalFight.org.
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