Congresswoman Barbara Lee Sends Letter to President Bush Demanding $1 Billion Supplemental Appropriation for AIDS Bill

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Sends Letter to President Bush
Demanding $1 Billion Supplemental Appropriation for AIDS Bill

Lee Asks Bush to Live Up to Earlier Promise of Full Funding of $3 Billion to Fight Global Pandemic

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), with the bi-partisan support of 115 co-sponsors, sent a letter to President George W. Bush demanding that the President provide an emergency supplemental appropriation of $1 billion to meet the funding authorized in the historic HIV/AIDS bill he signed in May. Lee was a co-sponsor of the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003, which called for $3 billion per year over five years. President Bush’s FY 04 budget, however, provides only $2 billion in funding for the initiative. Throughout his five-day, five-nation tour and even earlier, Bush has repeatedly touted his record.

“While the President has been traveling around Africa touting his recent record in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the reality is that he is failing to put his full weight in Washington behind securing funding for the bill at the levels he promised,” said Lee. “I sincerely hope the President will use the same political capital he used in passing the tax cuts in order to secure the funding that millions of people so desperately need. Lives are depending on it.”

The letter to President Bush follows:

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to thank you for your leadership regarding the global AIDS pandemic and we also strongly urge you to submit an emergency supplemental appropriations request of $1 billion for global HIV/AIDS programs, so that Congress can fully fund H.R. 1298, The United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003, which you signed into law on May 27, 2003. Without an emergency supplemental appropriation of $1 billion, Congress will be unable to provide the full amount of funding authorized for Global HIV/AIDS programs through this bill without making cuts in other important programs.

As Members of Congress who care very deeply about the global swath of destruction that the HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria pandemics have caused over the last several decades, we applauded your announcement of an Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief during your State of the Union Address in January. By committing $15 billion to fight global AIDS over the next five years, the United States sends a strong message of hope to the millions who are already living with HIV/AIDS, and the millions more who are at risk of infection.

As a body, we acted quickly to turn this AIDS initiative into a bipartisan piece of authorizing legislation. And again Congress complied when you called for swift passage of H.R. 1298 before the Memorial Day recess and in time for the Group of Eight meetings in Evian, France.

At the G-8 meetings, you rightly challenged France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Russia, and the European Union to match the $15 billion that we authorized through this legislation.

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