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Old 01-05-2007, 04:27 PM   #1
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What You Can DO to Help ONE Save Thousands of Lives

Right now, there is a push in Congress to freeze spending for the 2007 federal budget at last year's spending levels. It is called the continuing resolution (CR) and what it will do is end up costing thousands of desparately poor African people their lives.


Here is the latest entry from the ONE blog which clearly explains why the CR is so dangerous in the campaign to end extreme poverty:

I just want to post this from the ONE blog to stress why the ONE booth at the MLK Jr. Festival will be of the UTMOST importance:


Almost Beyond Comprehension

02:30 PM Jan 05, 2007

As people who care about global poverty, this is a moment to pay attention.

In December, Congressional leaders made it clear that they intend to extend the current "continuing resolution" (CR) for the entire year. This means that U.S. federal funding will remain at 2006 levels throughout all of 2007 - and that the global poverty movement will not receive close to a billion dollars in funding increases that were set aside for the new year.

To say that again, the CR means that a year's worth of work for almost a billion dollars in funding increases, and critical momentum for some of the greatest challenges our world faces, could all be lost.

The majority of this funding, approximately $900 million, was set aside for PEPFAR, the President's $15 billion five-year program to fight the growing global HIV/AIDS pandemic. According to Mark Dybul of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator in a new UPI article:

"If that money is not appropriated, the program, which provides treatment for 822,000 AIDS patients in 15 focus countries, will have to stop enrolling new individuals by February...If the shortfall is not addressed, it could lead to the deaths of 110,000 to 175,000 HIV-infected individuals..."

"You can't just start up again in 2008 and bring them back. They're gone."

Additionally, pulling this expected increase means global partners will lose trust in the U.S. government's promises. "The chilling effect long-term on scale-up" says Dybul "is almost beyond comprehension."

There is additional money that Congress can still distribute into key programs for the 2007 budget. In December, ONE asked our members contacted their representatives on this issue.

Please stay tuned to the ONE Blog in the next few days for more ways you can take action.


PLEASE contact your Senators NOW and let them know that you DO NOT support the continuing resolution and that you want the monies appropriated to the programs to fight extreme poverty in the FY2007 budget that are supposed to be funded. (PEPFAR, Global Fund, MCA, etc.)

This is a matter of life and death for thousands of desparately poor African people.

It is also a disgrace by our Congress.


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Old 01-06-2007, 02:24 PM   #2
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Thanks for this information Jamila. I'll fire off some suitably irate e-mails over this.

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Old 01-06-2007, 02:46 PM   #3
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Originally posted by verte76
Thanks for this information Jamila. I'll fire off some suitably irate e-mails over this.

Thanks verte.

This really is one action that we can take to help ONE end extreme poverty in the world.

Here is another email that I received on this matter from the Global AIDS Alliance:


January 4, 2006


Write & Call Congress NOW to Save $1 Billion
in Global AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Funding!!



Congress had been poised to provide higher funding for global AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria programs in 2007 compared to 2006. HOWEVER,
Congress failed to give final approval to these increases before
adjourning for the year. Instead, it decided to simply keep funding
in 2007 at the same level as in 2006, using continuing resolutions.

That means that the increases we fought for all year long to save
lives around the globe-and which we thought we had nearly won-are
now lost.

This pulls the rug out from under the Malaria Initiative, which was
just launched. It stalls AIDS treatment and prevention, even as the
world is working to provide universal access by 2010. It undermines
the response to Extremely Drug-resistant Tuberculosis (XDR-TB),
which is now spreading globally. It stalls important programs to
help orphaned and vulnerable children.

If we make enough noise, we CAN reverse this loss! Congress will
revisit the matter in early January and consider increases for
particular programs. We need EVERYONE to contact their members of
Congress to say, "Restore $1 billion in funding for global AIDS, TB
and malaria programs as well as programs for orphaned and vulnerable

You do not have to be an expert! Please take these two simple
actions today:

Call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121. Ask to be connected
to your Senator or Representative's offices and then ask to speak
with the legislative aide who handles appropriations matters.

Also send an email or fax a letter (see sample letter, below). You
will find email addresses and fax numbers at www.senate.gov or


Sen. Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Brownback (R-KS) have sent a letter to
Senate leaders urging they restore the funding-and with your help we
can get LOTS of Senators to be co-signers! In addition, Rep. Barbara
Lee (D-9th CA) has taken the lead on a similar letter in the House.
She's just getting started, so every phone call you can make will
get the House closer to our goal!


I am very concerned about the impact of the Continuing Resolution on
funding for global AIDS, TB and Malaria programs, especially the
Global Fund. The AIDS epidemic is spreading, with 4.3 million new
infections this past year. Extremely drug-resistant TB is a real
emergency, threatening many countries.

Can I count on you to prioritize a $1 billion increase for global
AIDS, TB and malaria programs, including $700 million for the Global

[If calling a Senate office: Will the Senator be willing to sign
onto the Durbin/Brownback letter that urges Senate leaders to
restore the increase for global AIDS programs? This letter has
already been issued.]

[If calling a House office: Will the Representative be willing to
sign onto Representative Lee's letter that urges House leaders to
restore the increase for global AIDS programs? This letter will be
issued very soon.]


Dear [Member of Congress]:

I am alarmed at the proposed Continuing Resolution, which will keep
funding for global AIDS and other health programs at 2006 levels.
This will mean a massive loss in momentum in the fight against
killer diseases. Keeping funding at 2006 levels means AIDS treatment
programs and prevention programs, as well as care for orphans and
vulnerable children, will be stalled. New malaria programs will be
devastated. Programs to fight Extremely Drug-resistant Tuberculosis
will also be stalled, even as this very dangerous infection spreads.

For instance, in the Senate, the funding for global HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis, and malaria programs was set at $4.36 billion for
Fiscal Year 2007. But, by simply continuing the Fiscal Year 2006
funding, Congress will provide only $3.43 billion. That would be a
loss of $930 million!

That is why I urge you to prioritize a $1 billion increase for
global AIDS, TB and malaria programs in the new continuing
resolution the Congress will consider. We especially need to
preserve $700 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and
Malaria, because the US contribution is matched by other donors on a
two-to-one basis.

Since this matter will be negotiated in early January, please
contact Congressional leadership about this as soon as possible.

[For letters to Senators, please add: Senators Durbin and Brownback
have issued a letter to Senate leaders urging they restore the
funding increase for global AIDS programs. I urge you to sign this

[For letters to members of the House, please add: Representative
Barbara Lee is sending a letter to House leaders urging they restore
the funding increase for global AIDS programs. I urge you to sign
this letter.]

Please let me know where you stand on this critical issue.



THANKS for taking action! OK, now that you have called and sent your
letter, read on for more details


The Congress adjourned without approving the spending bills needed
to keep the government going, including US support for global health
programs. Progress in approving spending bills was especially slow
in the Senate, which passed just two of its 12 appropriations bills.

To keep the government going, the Congress passed what is known as a
continuing resolution (a "CR"), which continues 2006 funding levels
into the 2007 fiscal year until February. Early next year, they will
vote on a longer "CR" which will extend throughout Fiscal year 2007.
Increases that had been approved for some programs, like Global
AIDS, TB and Malaria programs, are wiped out by the agreement to
implement the continuing resolution.

For instance, the Senate had approved a substantial increase for the
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria-but that has been wiped
out by the Continuing Resolution. Need more info on how many lives
this is going to cost?

Overall, in the Senate, the funding for global HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis, and malaria programs was set at $4.36 billion for
Fiscal Year 2007. But, by simply continuing the Fiscal Year 2006
funding, Congress will provide only $3.43 billion. That would be a
loss of $930 million!

A Continuing Resolution is usually a temporary, stop-gap measure.
When it resumes its session in January, Congress could seek to pass
the individual spending bills for fiscal year 2007 and send them to
the President.

However, the incoming leadership has decided not to do this.
Instead, they will craft a new CR, which they are calling a "joint
funding resolution," that will carry forward the 2006 funding levels
into 2007. Some increases will be allowed, based on an assessment of
needs conducted at the departmental and agency level, but only a
small amount is available for these increases.

This resolution must be formally approved by February 15, but the
question of what increases will actually be allowed will be resolved
much earlier, via high-level negotiations in early January.

We need significantly higher levels of funding for core health and
development programs that bring more children into school and that
give the poor access to basic health services and clean water and
sanitation. The flat-lining of funding affects many of these
important development programs, as well, and we are very concerned
about the impact of a long term continuing resolution on addressing
these basic needs.

Global AIDS Alliance

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Old 01-07-2007, 08:13 AM   #4
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I'm going to bump this appeal from ONE and other Global AIDS organizations because this situation is SO CRITICAL for the thousands of Africans who will not get the ARV help that they need to stay alive if the funding increases for the programs that fight extreme poverty in the FY 2007 federal budget are not allocated.

This thread really isn't a pure discussion thread. It's an ACTION thread.

And I'm hoping that all of you who live in the USA will take the few minutes to CONTACT YOUR SENATORS to let them know that you do NOT SUPPORT THE CR !

Thank you so much for your time. Please help this effort out.
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Old 01-08-2007, 12:20 PM   #5
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Here is TODAY'S action alert sent from ONE:

Dear ONE Member,

Thanks to your efforts, 2006 was an incredible year for the ONE Campaign -- but now all our hard work is in jeopardy. $1 billion in funding to fight poverty has been eliminated from the budget.

This is a catastrophic u-turn in the fight against extreme poverty.

You can prevent this loss by contacting your representatives now and urging them to take action.

One billion dollars represents so much more than the time that you and other ONE members spent calling and e-mailing Congress. To countless people living in extreme poverty, those billion dollars are the difference between life and death. It is the promise of a better tomorrow, with bed nets to fight malaria, life saving medications, and schools for children.

Right now, the new Congress is set to pass a year long Continuing Resolution (CR) which will keep government funding at 2006 levels through 2007. This means that any gains we made in 2006 would be lost.

Thankfully there are Members of Congress working hard to see that our progress is not rolled back. Dick Durbin and Sam Brownback in the Senate and Barbara Lee and Christopher Shays in the House of Representatives have written letters to the Congressional Leadership urging them to fund some of the crucial poverty-fighting assistance that was allocated in 2006.

Ask your Members of Congress to sign-on to the Durbin-Brownback and Lee-Shays letters.

To make sure that Congress understands the importance of this issue, we will be faxing your letters directly to your elected leaders. Then, next week ONE volunteers will be visiting Congressional Leadership offices to deliver the letters by hand.

Congressional Leadership is deciding right now how to allocate a very limited amount of funding, and it is up to you to make sure that they fund poverty-focused development assistance. As a constituent you have your representatives' ears, and it is up to you to let them know that extreme poverty is priority for you, now and in the future. Sending a letter now will let them know that you care deeply about ending extreme poverty.

We have a chance to save hundreds of thousands of lives, but only if we let Congress hear this urgent call. We can't let one more year go by where the scale of our response is outpaced by the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty.

Please take a moment to send a letter to your representatives and urge them to co-sign the Brownback-Durbin and Lee-Shays letters.

Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck, ONE.org


This is the most serious challenge that the Global AIDS movement has faced in five years regarding funding levels for programs that have been proven EFFECTIVE in fighting AIDS and extreme poverty.

Please help ONE to help the thousands of Africans who will lose their lives if this additional $1 billion is not restored to the 2007 federal budget.

It's REALLY that serious this time, folks.
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Old 01-09-2007, 08:57 AM   #6
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Part of the funding in the budget that ONE is fighting for is money that would go into the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

( http://www.theglobalfund.org )

Here is an article by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs on how to fight Malaria:

Thursday, Jan. 04, 2007
The $10 Solution
By Jeffrey D. Sachs

Listen for a moment to the beautiful and dignified voices of Africa's mothers. Despite their burdens of poverty and hunger, they will tell you not of their endless toil but of their hopes for their children. But softly, ever so softly, they will also recount the children they have lost, claimed by a sudden fever, children who died in their arms as they were carried in a desperate half-day's journey by foot from the village to the nearest clinic.

This is the ineffable sadness of malaria. Another African child has died of malaria since you started reading this article. Perhaps 2 million children in all will succumb this year.

The long-term consequences are insidious as well as tragic and even relate to the ability of the U.S. to prevail against the jihadists. Not only does malaria sap worker productivity and scare away business investment, but it also, paradoxically, increases the rate of population growth. Instead of having two or three children, couples in a malarial region often choose to have six or seven--unsure how many will survive.

Malaria also helps create a poverty trap with special ferocity in Africa. By a quirk of ecological fate, Africa has the world's heaviest toll of this disease, the result of its tropical climate, its specific types of mosquitoes and its limitless mosquito-breeding sites. Children are struck down in unmatched numbers. And Africa's disease toll from malaria may be even higher than previously recognized. Recent research has found that malaria infection increases the likelihood that an HIV-infected individual will transmit the AIDS virus to others. Many millions are also infected simultaneously with malaria and worm infections, multiplying the disease burden.

Osama bin Laden has called for jihad in Africa, trying to capitalize on its extreme poverty. Here's how we can respond. While malaria has shaped Africa's poverty trap, it is a trap that can finally be unlocked. Spectacular technological advances, some stunningly simple, offer practical and low-cost solutions. The most obvious one is insecticide-treated bed nets, now cleverly engineered to last up to five years. The cost to manufacture, ship and distribute each net is $10. A new generation of medicines based on artemisinin, an extract from a traditional Chinese herbal remedy, is remarkably effective in treating cases of the disease, at a cost of about a dollar per treatment.

Yet these solutions still aren't reaching the vast proportion of Africans in need. Hard as it is for us to imagine, Africa's households simply can't afford even $10 for a net, or a dollar for medicines when a child falls sick. Nor can African governments carry these costs on meager budgets or take extra vital steps to train local health workers and ensure that every village has reliable access to effective medicines.

Here is where you and I come in. Considering the costs of the nets, medicines and other components of malaria control, a comprehensive program would cost about $4.50 per African at risk, or about $3 billion a year for the whole continent. This is an amount that is too large for Africa but truly tiny for the rich world.

Let me put the $3 billion in perspective: there are a billion of us in the high-income world--that amounts to $3 a person, or one Starbucks coffee a year. It's around 12.5% of the estimated $24 billion in Wall Street's Christmas bonuses.

We should bring forth armies of Red Cross volunteers to distribute bed nets and to offer village-based training for tens of thousands of villages across Africa. In a brilliant demonstration of people power and modern logistics, Red Cross volunteers distributed nets to more than half the households of Togo in 2004 and Niger in 2005 in a matter of a few days in each country. That successful delivery model should be replicated across Africa, by 2010 if not earlier, but this will depend on mobilizing the needed resources.

New citizens' movements, including Malaria No More malarianomore.org and Nothing but Nets nothingbutnets.net) have been established to achieve the needed breakthrough. We can each contribute $10 for a bed net. We can each learn more about the disease and become antimalaria leaders in our communities, schools, churches and businesses. We can urge our governments to work with the private sector and citizens' groups to win the fight against malaria during this decade. President Bush recently took a good step in scaling up the U.S. government's malaria-control efforts, but much more needs to be done to ensure that aid reaches the hundreds of millions of Africans at risk.

Together we can choose peace over jihad and life over violence. Through our common resolve, we can prove the power we each have to save a life.

Sachs, author of The End of Poverty, directs the Earth Institute at Columbia University

There is still time to contact your Senators about the CR and the Durbin-Brownback sign on letter.


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Old 01-09-2007, 02:07 PM   #7
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The latest from ONE:

Dear ONE Member,

Thank You! In the last 24 hours, you joined with tens of thousands of ONE Members to send letters to Members of Congress asking them to sign-on to letters urging Congressional Leadership to fund the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty in 2007.

42 Members of Congress have signed on to the letters so far, but the fight isn't over yet.

Congressional Leadership is deciding right now how to allocate a very limited amount of funding, and it is up to us to remind them that, dollar for dollar, this funding probably has the most direct impact on preserving human lives in the U.S. Federal Budget.

Please take a moment to call your Members of Congress and tell them to sign the "Dear Colleague" letters to fund crucial measures that fight poverty.

Calling your Members of Congress is easy and it takes only a moment to remind both of your Senators and your Representative how important this funding is to the world's poorest people.

To call:

Dial 1-800-786-2ONE (1-800-786-2663)

THANK YOU for making these toll-free phone calls to your Senators' offices to ask them to sign on to the Durbin-Brownback "Dear Colleague" letter.

Please do it TODAY!
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Old 01-10-2007, 04:36 PM   #8
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ONE more time:

Dear ONE Member,

Congress is backtracking on a $1 billion increase in funding for poverty-focused development assistance that you helped secure through letters, petitions, and calls last year.

A $1 billion U-turn would be devastating. Please take a moment to ask your representatives to protect the $1 billion of funding and the lives that depend on it.

Without this funding 350,000 people with HIV/AIDS will not receive life-saving treatment, nearly 1 million anti-malarial bednets will not be distributed, and 120,000 people will not receive treatment for tuberculosis.

This is not rhetoric. It's not an exaggeration. Hundreds of thousands of lives are in the balance and Congress has the power to save them.

Please take a moment to ask your representatives to protect the $1 billion of funding and the lives that depend on it.

Fortunately, there is a bi-partisan bi-cameral effort underway to protect this funding and save lives that would be lost if this funding vanishes.

Dick Durbin and Sam Brownback in the Senate and Barbara Lee and Christopher Shays in the House of Representatives have written letters to the Congressional Leadership urging them to fund some of the crucial poverty fighting assistance that was allocated in 2006. Since ONE Members started taking action to protect this funding, 44 members of Congress have co-signed these letters, and the number keeps growing.

Ask your members of Congress to sign-on to the Durbin-Brownback and Lee-Shays letters.

We will be sending your letters directly to your representatives, and then ONE Volunteers will hand deliver your letters to Congressional Leadership next week.

Congressional Leaders are deciding right now how they want to allocate the small amount of funding, and it is up to you to let your representatives know that you want them to protect funding for poverty-focused development assistance.

Send a letter to your representative asking them to co-sign the Durbin-Brownback and Lee-Shays letters.

Take action now to assure that your members of Congress are committed to doing everything they can to represent your priorities.

Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck, ONE.org

I hope that you used your voice to help the thousands of Africans who will lose their futures if this $1 billion is not allocated.
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Old 01-13-2007, 09:08 PM   #9
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This article highlights the VERY IMPORTANT reason why ONE is scheduled to be at the MLK Jr. Festival in Austin TX this coming Monday - Dr. King's birthday and his national holiday.


Money to fight AIDS abroad caught up in budget wrangling

- Sabin Russell, Chronicle Medical Writer
Friday, January 12, 2007

A stalemate in Congress over financing the federal government through the remainder of the year could shortly upend progress in bringing AIDS drugs to needy patients in poor countries hardest hit by the global scourge.

At stake is nearly $1 billion in new spending for various programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria abroad. The Bush administration had sought the money, and both houses in Congress were inclined to support the funding, but it could all disappear by the end of February without special consideration by lawmakers whose attention is now focused on Iraq.

Alarmed AIDS activists and key congressional supporters of the international program have begun to campaign to get the money approved, but now have barely one month to make their case.

"People are sweating right now. If we don't get a correction, the whole upward trajectory goes down. Momentum will be lost, and that's the hardest thing to gain again,'' said Dr. Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance.

Dr. Mark Dybul, director of PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, warned a Washington audience last week that unless Congress authorizes the additional money to continue expanding the program, new overseas enrollment in antiviral drug treatment -- at a rate of 50,000 new patients each month -- will have to stop by the end of February.

Because of an impasse over budget priorities that began during the waning days of the Republican-controlled Congress last fall, nearly all federal spending for this year has been frozen at 2006 levels. That creates special problems for programs, like PEPFAR, that were scheduled for big expansions in 2007.

Unless the new Democrat-controlled Congress makes an exception, PEPFAR will have to stay at last year's spending level through September -- leaving no money for new enrollment after February. As a result, 350,000 HIV-positive people slated to start AIDS drug treatment, most of them in Africa, won't get their medicine. Dybul estimated that 110,000 to 175,000 of them will die.

"That's what we are talking about. It's not just enrolling people on therapy,'' he said during a meeting of the Global Health Council. "It's people who will die -- they're gone.''

Dybul also estimated that without the additional money, 23,000 children will become infected at birth because services to prevent mother-to-fetus transmission of HIV "will pretty much have to halt.''

President Bush's PEPFAR program had targeted 2007 for a major scale-up of the drug treatment program, and he had requested that spending for the year grow to $4 billion from $3.2 billion in 2006.

Because the Republican-controlled Congress adjourned with much of its budgetary work incomplete, the daily business of government has been authorized with a series of continuing resolutions that leave spending at 2006 levels.

That stopgap strategy could become more permanent, however. Democrat leaders decided that, rather than renew the contentious budget debates that went nowhere in the fall, they would pass one more continuing resolution to keep nearly all federal spending levels flat until October. They would devote their energies instead to budget battles for the next fiscal year.

However, because spending has been restricted by continuing resolution budgets since the fiscal year began in October, AIDS advocates say the resultant savings have freed up at least $12 billion that could be distributed to programs Congress chooses to support. A massive lobbying effort is gearing up in hopes that about $1 billion of that be directed to pay for Bush's AIDS and malaria initiatives, as well as to pay some $90 million authorized for domestic AIDS programs under the Ryan White Care Act.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, a member of the Appropriations Committee, obtained 87 signatures in two days from other House members calling for $930 million in new spending for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs -- the level supported last fall by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"If you don't raise an issue, and don't organize around what is important, things do fall by the wayside,'' she said. "I can't take that chance.''

Lee said that she has not had any direct discussions with her Bay Area colleague, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but that AIDS has always been a top priority for the San Francisco Democrat.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said she is fully aware of the problem.

"She staunchly supports these programs, but we are also trying to achieve fiscal responsibility,'' he said. "The Republican Congress created this fiscal mess, and then punted this problem to us.''

Hammill said that a decision on the next continuing resolution does not have to be made until Feb. 15.

"We do have a little bit of time here,'' he said.


Let's make sure that the Congress makes the RIGHT decision.

USE YOUR VOICE for the world's poorest people through ONE!

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Old 01-16-2007, 10:44 AM   #10
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Rev. Desmond Tutu was the author of a guest editorial regarding the current debate in Congress over restoring the $1 billion in the FY 2007 federal budget for programs that fight AIDS and extreme poverty.

And what more appropriate day for Rev. Tutu's editorial than on the birthday and the national holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr!

Take very good care, everyONE.


New Congress Can Save Lives, or Money

By Desmond Tutu
Monday, January 15, 2007; 12:00 AM

The new Congress, led in the House by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is about to make its first decision regarding how America's money should be spent - a decision that leaves millions of lives hanging in the balance. Congress's choice to bypass 2007 appropriations legislation and extend fiscal 2006 funding levels into the new year will mean, in effect, cuts of almost $1billion in funding for programs to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. If not reversed, the lack of funds will force hundreds of thousands of people to forgo prevention, treatment, care and support for the three most deadly infectious diseases in the world.

Many of the people most affected by Congress's decision will be my fellow Africans. Around the world, the most poor and marginalized men, women and children will suffer the consequences of flat-lined funding. AIDS, TB and malaria are diseases of poverty; to truly address them, sufficient aid must be reliably and properly channeled in solidarity with the people who will receive it.

In bipartisan action last year, Congress approved as much as $4.37 billion for programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in 2007. This increase would have given much-needed hope and opportunity to those at risk of and suffering from these diseases. However, the joint funding resolution (or "continuing resolution") the new Congress is expected to pass would keep spending at 2006 levels, which would mean only $3.43 billion for AIDS, TB and malaria efforts - $940 million less. My heart aches to think of the lives that could be saved with nearly $1 billion - but there is still time for Speaker Pelosi, a longtime leader in the fight against HIV-AIDS, to do something about it.

The U.S. government has repeatedly promised to combat HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria: At the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 and as a member of the Group of Eight the United States committed to the goal of universal access for HIV-AIDS prevention and treatment by 2010. However, the funding resolution Congress is considering would shortchange and potentially sabotage every American program to address these diseases, leaving innocent people in its wake.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), for example, is designed to have its funding increase each year in order to meet its goals.

If funding for 2007 is not increased from 2006 levels, it may be impossible for the United States to continue making headway on the human catastrophe that is HIV-AIDS. Staying at 2006 funding levels would result in a loss of up to $700 million for the 15 PEPFAR focus countries. As a result, 280,000 fewer people will be put on AIDS treatment. That is 280,000 lives needlessly lost. In addition, 10 percent of all PEPFAR money goes to support orphans and other vulnerable children. Children depend upon us to protect them. But without enough money to continue expanding, PEPFAR will be another program that leaves behind a generation of kids.

Multilateral programs will suffer as well. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a unique multilateral partnership based on the needs expressed by affected countries, stands to lose out on enough money for 555,000 HIV tests, 120,000 treatments for TB, and 945,000 bed nets to prevent malaria. That's more lives lost.

HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and the tens of thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children are symptoms of our collective failure to protect each other, to ensure that all people's basic needs and rights are met, and to guarantee everyone a life of dignity. This failure is very troubling to me.

It is a sign of our breakdown as one human family. Worldwide, we have made stops and starts at healing this rift and keeping our promises to one another. But if Congress does not act to restore that $1 billion for global health, poverty alleviation and foreign aid, the rift will only grow wider and healing will be further beyond our reach.

The United States has the potential to be a global leader. Congress has the opportunity to remind the world of the good that can be done in the name of the American people, to help people around the world build better lives and restore our brotherhood and sisterhood. The promises made to poor countries are not just words on paper. They concern the lives of people who, in different circumstances, could be you or me.

As we honor the life and vision of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. today, I hope and pray that Congress will choose the righteous path, the path that will save tens of thousands of lives and give countless children opportunities and hope they have never before imagined. I join the world in watching, and waiting for its decision.

The writer, an archbishop emeritus, is honorary chairperson of the Global AIDS Alliance.


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Old 01-16-2007, 03:59 PM   #11
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When I was 6 I got to see Bishop Tutu speak (of course I don't remember what he talked about) but after there was African music playing and he was dancing around, and my dad was holding me, and I clearly remember him coming up to me, dancing, stroking my cheek and saying "Bless you child."

That memory has stuck with me and I'm so proud to have experienced that.

U2democrat is offline  

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