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Last Updated:10/03/01
Speech by Rep. Barbara Lee
(D-California), July 24, 2001

Mr. Chairman, first, I would like to begin by thanking the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. LEACH) for cosponsoring this amendment which would increase the United States contribution to the Global AIDS Trust Fund from $100 million to $160 million in fiscal year 2002. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. KOLBE), the chairman of the subcommittee, and the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. LOWEY), the ranking member, and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. PELOSI) and the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. OBEY) for their strong leadership in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, and for increasing global HIV and AIDS with this initial $100 million increase, and by a proposed $100 million in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill.

Now, the United Nations Secretary General, General Kofi Annan, has stated that a $10 billion annual war chest is needed to fight HIV/AIDS. The Harvard AIDS Institute has stated that $10 billion is needed annually for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. So while these increases are taking us in the right direction, there still is not enough money for the Global AIDS Trust Fund.

Last year, the United States spent $490 million on global HIV/AIDS programs. This amount falls short of the billions required to fight the global AIDS crisis.

Now, we all know that the global AIDS crisis, particularly as it is affecting the African continent, is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. Eight thousand people died of AIDS every day last year and that means six people died every minute. Since the virus was first recognized 20 years ago, 58 million people have been infected and, at current rates of spread, the total will exceed $100 million by 2005. AIDS has orphaned over 10 million children in Africa. By 2010, there will be more than 40 million AIDS orphans.

I participated in the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS as part of the official United States delegation. World leaders, international HIV experts, and economists in civil society called for a $7 billion to $10 billion Global AIDS Trust Fund in order to address HIV and AIDS prevention, education, care, and treatment in Africa.

So I want to remind my colleagues that last year, both the House and Senate passed bipartisan legislation which authorized the establishment of the World Bank AIDS Trust Fund. This bill was signed into law by President Clinton.

Mr. Chairman, at this time I will insert for the RECORD a letter I received from the Secretary which indicates the importance of this legislation.

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY,

Washington, DC July 11, 2001.

Hon. BARBARA LEE,

Committee on Financial Services, House of Representatives, Washington, DC

DEAR MRS. LEE: Thank you for your letter of June 22nd on the negotiations to create a global fund for AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. I appreciate the leadership and support that Congress has demonstrated on this issue, and agree that the international community should work to reach agreement to establish the fund as quickly as possible. There has been considerable progress toward this end, and the United States is pushing hard to reach agreement on process details and timetables that will enable the fund to be established and operational by January 2002.

The United States support a fiduciary role for the World Bank in the global fund, and we are working with other donors to achieve consensus on such a role. We have already had preliminary discussions with the Bank on the substantive elements of such a function.

It is also the United States' position that the fund should be donor-controlled and broadly representative of all stakeholders, with a major operational role for medical and public health experts. We believe that a consensus is also beginning to form around these issues.

Thank you again for your continuing interest and concern in this urgent matter.

Sincerely, PAUL H. O'NEILL.

Mr. Chairman, in order to remain at the forefront, our leadership, the United States leadership, must include providing significant funding to the Global AIDS Trust Fund. Actually, this year our authorization, which was agreed upon by our Committee on International Relations under the leadership of the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. HYDE), calls for approximately a $750 million distribution. The trust fund will provide direct funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, education, treatment, and care services. These funds are desperately needed.

I believe, and experts support, the fact that the United States must commit a minimum of $1 billion for the Global AIDS Trust Fund in order to lead this international effort. This will help leverage the $10 billion requirement, and it will keep the United States in a leadership position.

Now, I understand the financial constraints which are presented in this bill. However, I strongly believe that we must do everything that we can at every opportunity to bring us closer to that $1 billion level. So our $60 million amendment will do just that.

As discussions about a comprehensive and coordinated global response to the AIDS crisis has ensued, there have been many questions about whether or not African countries and HIV/AIDS service providers will be able to expend large amounts of funding on the pandemic. I want to remind my colleagues about the authorizing language in H.R. 3519, the Global AIDS and Tuberculosis Relief Act of 2000. The authorizing language included language that indicated that we must build the necessary health care and social infrastructure, while at the same time providing for care and treatment to ensure long-term success.

There have been reports which claim the developing countries and HIV/AIDS service providers will not effectively be able to absorb or distribute large amounts of money for the global pandemic. But according to a USAID report, there are over 25 countries that have been identified as high impact countries, yet aid is only scaling up in four of these countries. According to the USAID missions, capacities for increases in funding in Africa alone could be doubled and spent effectively.

As for offsets, I want to state for the record that the offsets for this amendment will come from an across-the-board cut of the foreign military financing budget increases from last year. These cuts do not include funding for Israel, Egypt, or Jordan. Our amendment will also cut funding from the Andean antinarcotic initiatives specifically, military spending for Peru only, once again, only from the increase this year.

Mr. Chairman, I urge adoption of the amendment.

As of October 3, 2001, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r107:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20010724)
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