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Barbara L.
Democrat CA 13

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  • Pepfar Stewardship and Oversight Act of 2013

    by Representative Barbara Lee

    Posted on 2013-11-19

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    LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, first, let me thank our ranking member for yielding, but also, let me just thank you so much for your tremendous leadership on this issue and on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and for your recognition and hard work in achieving and seeking to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

    I want to say it is a real pleasure to be with you today and to be back with you today, actually, with the committee that I served on for 8 years. So thank you, again, so much.

    Let me also thank the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Royce, for ensuring that PEPFAR continues as a bipartisan effort, and for your commitment to an AIDS-free generation. I just want to thank you for that leadership because, oftentimes, we wonder if there is bipartisanship in this body. Well, I think today, once again, we can cite that when it comes to saving lives, PEPFAR is a clear example of how we work together to do just that.

    {time} 1645 And, of course, I must thank my cochair on the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida. I have to thank her for her work on HIV/AIDS initiatives, both international and domestic.

    I am very proud to have played a role in the creation of PEPFAR and am proud of the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus and our chair at that time, the gentlewoman from Texas, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. Even before the world knew about this program, Congresswoman Johnson knew the importance of Presidential leadership and put this on the Congressional Black Caucus' agenda during our very first meeting with President Bush.

    To quote from a 2002 letter to President Bush, the CBC called for an ``expanded U.S. initiative'' to respond to the greatest plague in recorded history. And then following that, in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech, he laid out what this important initiative should look like and made a serious commitment to this effort.

    So over the last decade, we have worked closely with the late Chairman Hyde, Chairman Lantos, as well as Senator Kerry, the late Senator Jesse Helms, Senator Bill Frist, Congressman Jim Leach, Congressman McDermott, Congresswoman Donna Christensen, Leader Pelosi, and so many others. And I share this because I think it is important that society recognize that the history of this has been bipartisan because we kept our eye on the prize. We knew that we wanted to save lives and we wanted to see an AIDS-free generation, and so many people, so many Members of this body, so many outside organizations, and our staff have worked so hard to get us to this point.

    So now, a decade later, I am especially proud, once again, to be a coauthor of the bill before us today. As I said, this is a bipartisan compromise, and in the end, I think we have a very good bill.

    We agreed on the need to protect funding for HIV treatment and programs for orphans and vulnerable children. We agreed on the need to preserve support and extend the expired 33 percent cap on United States contributions to the Global Fund. This cap is a proven tool for leveraging donor funding and is especially important as the United States prepares to host the Fourth Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund next month.

    Our bill also updates the annual report to better guide PEPFAR's transition toward greater country ownership while enhancing oversight. And I am especially pleased that we included reporting requirements on efforts to engage key stakeholders, including faith-based organizations and United States minority-serving institutions.

    I can tell you, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, PEPFAR has transitioned from--and this is very important. And I want to thank Ranking Member Engel and Chairman Royce for helping us realize the need to transition from an emergency response to a means of supporting country leadership in their work towards an AIDS-free generation. So this bill will fundamentally help continue to move our programs in that direction.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.

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