Five years ago, Congress passed the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria Act of 2003, which authorized PEPFAR, an historic effort to combat HIV/AIDS, and the largest commitment ever by a single country to a global health initiative. Today, Congress is poised to renew and expand that effort by passing the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 (H.R.5501, S.2731). The Lantos-Hyde Act authorizes $50 billion over five years for these three diseases of poverty, continuing our leadership against AIDS and malaria, and stepping up our response to tuberculosis by authorizing up to $4billion in funding. (For more background on the Lantos-Hyde Act, please read the June Action Sheet
Despite broad bipartisan support, Senate action was stalled for months by seven senators (lead by Sen. Coburn (R-OK)), who had policy and funding concerns with the bill. Growing media and civil society pressure finally spurred Senate leadership into action, and on June 19, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) set June 24 as the deadline for negotiations. On June 24, Senator Reid publicly stated his hope that the negotiations between Senators Biden (D-DE), Lugar (R-IN), Enzi (R-WY), Coburn (R-OK) and the White House would allow him to call a vote in the immediate future.
This week — as early as today — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could schedule a floor time and a vote on the Lantos-Hyde Global HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria Act of 2008. While we are happy that passage of this bill before Congress adjourns for the July 4th recess is appearing more likely, we are very concerned that there may be harmful amendments offered during debate. We are also working with Senate allies to offer an amendment to restore critical TB policy language to the bill.
*TAKE ACTION NOW*
Please call your senators NOW and ask them to:
+support the Unanimous Consent vote
+Support the Lantos-Hyde bill on the floor of the Senate
+Oppose any amendments that reduce funding or put earmarks in for abstinence only.
Detailed information on what to say is below.
Hello. My name is ______________ __ and I’m calling from ________________.
I am calling to thank the Senator for XXX and to ask him/her to support a comprehensive and effective Lantos-Hyde bill when it comes to the floor.
I hope Senator ___________ _____ will vote against any amendment to cut funding from the bill below the current $50 billion authorization. That funding is badly needed to fight AIDS but also to scale up to a real response on the global crises of tuberculosis and malaria as well.