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Faith leaders head to Capitol Hill to urge support for food security, global AIDS fight

WASHINGTON– This week, a group of faith leaders from 25 states will head to Capitol Hill to generate support for programs that help low-income countries fight the growing food, health, and economic crises. 

During a day of meetings on Wednesday, the faith leaders–who are volunteers with the ONE Campaign–will ask lawmakers to supply critically-needed food assistance and reauthorize a key US program to combat HIV/AIDS globally. 

When the new Congress is sworn in in January, incoming and returning lawmakers will face a series of global challenges, each with the potential for widespread human suffering: 

  • As many as 828 million people go to bed hungry each night. In Somalia, experiencing historic drought, a child is hospitalized for severe acute malnutrition every minute
  • After years in decline, HIV/AIDS infections are rising in some parts of the world and progress in other regions has slowed significantly.

Ensuring that the US maintains its historic and bipartisan commitment to development assistance is of the utmost importance as world leaders hope to soften the impact of many global challenges. 

“Beyond being simply the right and just course of action, US development assistance has proven incredibly effective in lifting people out of poverty and preventing the spread of deadly diseases,” the leaders wrote in a letter to Congress. “Development aid helps create jobs, get children into school, modernize infrastructure, create stability and strategic partnerships, and improve lives and livelihoods, paving a path to a better future for all of us.” 

In addition to advocating for development assistance, the faith leaders will also ask Congress to support two specific provisions: 

  • The Global Food Security Reauthorization Act. Passed by the House of Representatives in September, GFSA provides both emergency aid and long-term support to address the root causes of food insecurity. With 50 million people in 45 countries on the brink of famine, reauthorizing GFSA is critically important. 
  • PEPFAR Reauthorization. The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which celebrates 20 years in 2023, is up for reauthorization. PEPFAR is an integral part of US efforts to combat the scourge of HIV/AIDS globally, and has been credited with helping to save 20 million lives