Kerry defends President’s FY 15 global health budget before House subcommittee

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“I do believe we’ll be able to meet the target and meet our goals,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a House subcommittee Thursday, answering a question about global health provisions in President Obama’s fiscal 2015  budget.

In a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, Kerry lauded U.S. aims and achievements in global health during his opening remarks, pointing to the administration’s proposed 1.35 billion contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, as well as to President Obama’s call for “an AIDS-free generation,” adding that goal “would have been absolutely unthinkable 10 years ago.” Because of the progress against HIV that the United States has led, Kerry added, ” children are waking up today in Sub-Saharan Africa who face a very different future from what they did only 10 years ago.”

Global health advocates, though, have said that Obama’s proposal, which calling for the same $4.35 billion for the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief allocated for 2014, flatfunds a program that has seen $600 million in cuts since 2011, will be inadequate to fund the accelerated efforts needed to turn the trajectory of the global AIDS pandemic.

On Thursday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif) thanked Kerry for mentioning PEPFAR and the Global Fund, adding, “I’m concerned, however that PEPFAR really has been flat-funded for a couple of years in your budget, and the Global Fund has been cut by $300 million. I’m worried that possible donor nations will not see a real incentive to make their hopefully significant contributions to the Global Fund if we’re cutting our contribution.” Asking Kerry for his assessment of how the programs can continue to meet their goals, she added, “We’re at a critical and defining moment as you know, in the fight for an AIDS-free generation.”


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