The House has just passed the final version of the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act, by a vote of 303-115. The bill will now be sent to the President. This version is very similar to the original bill passed by the House in April and represents America's largest commitment ever to fighting this global epidemic.
“Today the House took an historic vote to pass landmark legislation to reauthorize our initiatives to fight infectious diseases in the developing world.
“I thank the Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman and Congresswoman Barbara Lee for their tremendous leadership on this legislation.
“This bill is appropriately named the Tom Lantos and Henry Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act.
“Under the leadership of Tom Lantos and Henry Hyde, we passed the first President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) legislation that authorized $15 billion over five years. Today, we honor their legacy with this legislation.
“Working together with the Bush Administration and the Appropriations Committee, we succeeded in providing life-saving anti-retroviral treatment to nearly 1.5 million people, supporting care for nearly 6.7 million people, including nearly 3 million orphans and vulnerable children, and supporting prevention of more than 150,000 infant infections.
“Now we must take the next step in fighting infectious diseases in the poorest countries of the world.
“The legislation Congress has passed will move us from the emergency phase to the sustainability phase in fighting AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. It will authorize $48 billion over five years to provide life-saving HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention for men, women, and children in the poorest countries of the world.
“The legislation will dramatically strengthen health care delivery systems, encourage new and innovative ways to deliver the ABC prevention message, improve relationships with governments and NGOs, eliminate the requirement that one third of the funding be used for abstinence programs, eliminate the travel ban for visitors who are HIV positive, improve services for women and girls, and build stronger linkages to health care and hunger initiatives.
“Few crises have called out more for sustained, constructive America leadership.
“Across the developing world, the HIV/AIDS pandemic has destroyed the very fabric of nations, devastated the most productive members of these societies, discouraged economic development, and orphaned 13 million children.
“The Leadership Against HIV/AIDS Act is our compact with developing nations across the globe. It says that America stands with them in this fight, that our commitment will not waver, and shows them America's true face of compassion.”
Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman closed debate on the bill:
|Chairman Berman: “The notion that there are now pregnant women who because of new discoveries in medicine can take drugs which allow their baby to be born without being HIV-positive, I call that saving lives. And curing a problem. This is happening all over the countries where these programs are working. The notion that the United States is helping to take care of the orphans and other vulnerable children who are left without parents as a result of this epidemic, I call saving lives and curing a problem.”
Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL-23) spoke in favor of the bill and denounced Republicans attempts to delay the bill in favor of drilling in pristine areas.
|Rep. Hastings: “This bill that we are here on, Madam Speaker, is named after two of the most distinguished persons that have ever served in this body. My colleague from Florida and all of us that are here knew both of these men and knew their seriousness when they came to this floor about matters. We commemorate their memory with this bill, but what we do is we denigrate their memory by bringing up political hyperbole, political grandstanding and bumper stickerism. Enough of this… How dare we come here with this pitiful excuse for a previous question and say to the American people that on a matter of this consequence, on a matter of dealing with malaria and tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS that we would come here and denigrate the name of the two persons that we commemorate with such a foolish pop significance.”