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Published: 1 April 2009
Senators Kerry and Lugar lead critical effort to support affordable initiatives that fight extreme poverty and improve security
For immediate release:
Contact: Chandler Smith
April 1, 2009
Washington, D.C.-ONE today thanked the U.S. Senate for restoring funding to save lives, fight disease and increase economic and educational opportunities for the world's poorest people.
The Senate today voted in favor of an amendment to the FY2010 Budget Resolution, introduced by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN). The Kerry-Lugar amendment restored the funding level requested by President Obama for the international affairs budget, the portion of the budget that includes America's global poverty and disease reduction initiatives.
After the vote on the Senate floor, David Lane, President and C.E.O. of ONE, made the following statement:
"ONE thanks the Senate for passing the Kerry-Lugar amendment and extends our great appreciation to Senators Kerry and Lugar for their leadership and to President Obama for his budget request. Today, the Senate made a smart decision to support effective, affordable programs rather than shortsightedly cut support for people living in extreme poverty during this global economic downturn. Helping improve the lives of people who face disease, hunger and economic stagnation around the world is truly smart power that increases economic opportunity, improves America's global standing and strengthens our security."
Last week, the Senate Budget Committee, chaired by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), removed approximately $4 billion from the President's $53.8 billion international affairs budget request. These cuts could have jeopardized innovative, successful programs that increase access to clean water, support infrastructure and increase access to basic lifesaving medicines and treatments for HIV/AIDS, malaria and early childhood diseases. These proposed cuts come at a time when the world's poorest people are being hit hard from the economic crisis in the form of falling investment, exports and remittances.
Thousands of calls from ONE members flooded the Senate over the last couple days and nearly 10,000 ONE members received text messages today, asking them to call their Senator in support of the Kerry-Lugar amendment. Both Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have also urged the Senate to restore funding to the international affairs budget, arguing its importance to U.S. security and other interests ("Army Times: Gates Lobbies For More Funds - For State," 3/30/09).
Thanks to bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress, America's lifesaving global efforts have delivered historic results in the last several years. More than 2 million people with HIV/AIDS in Africa are receiving basic medicines and beating the disease thanks to America's commitment. That number is up from just 50,000 in 2003. Millions more are surviving malaria because of cost-effective investments in simple bed nets and medicines. Some 34 million more children living in the world's poorest regions have been given the chance to go to school for the first time in recent years, opening the door to productive futures.
ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 2 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information please visit www.ONE.org