In spite of government shutdown, Senate could act on PEPFAR bill early next week

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S. 1545 (click to enlarge)

While much of the work in this shuttered capital has ground to a halt, the Senate is still open for business, and that means that the body could act on S. 1545, the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Bill of 2013 as early as this coming Monday.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the bill Monday night, moving its consideration up from the following day as the government shutdown loomed. The committee’s action Tuesday night coincided with the official end date of the Lantos Hyde Act, which reauthorized PEPFAR for five years in 2008. The bipartisan bill, introduced last week by Committee Chair Sen. Robert Menendez and ranking Republican Bob Corker, would extend  authorization for the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief and amend its reporting requirements. The Senators are working now to get the bill to the Senate floor quickly, according to Congressional sources.

The bill, a similar version of which was introduced in the house last week by House Foreign Affairs Committee leaders Reps. Ed Royce and Eliot Engel, joined by Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen, has been lauded by a wide range of global health advocacy, medical, research, implementing and faith-based organizations.

Those wishing to add support to the bill can do so at by contacting their Senators through this link.

Organizations supporting the bill include amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, ONE, World Vision, Family Health International, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, Save the Children, American Jewish World Service, AVAC, and the Center for Global Health Policy, which produces this blog. Advocates have said the bill sends an important message to other donors and implementing countries, that strides made by the United States landmark global health effort will continue.

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