To the Editor:
Last week, I joined 200 volunteers from all 50 states on Capitol Hill to advocate for global health funding on behalf of the ONE Campaign, a nonpartisan advocacy group that pushes for effective government programs to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease in the developing world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Members of Congress are crafting the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2017 right now. When attempting to balance the budget, many look to foreign assistance programs as an easy target to slash funding. However, these cost-effective, life-saving initiatives fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, tackle hunger, and help the world's poor pull themselves out of poverty, all for less than one percent of the federal budget. Global health initiatives go a long way in strengthening diplomatic ties, bolstering the global economy, and providing people with opportunities that keep them from falling into desperate acts of violent extremism.
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Tim Kaine has a special leadership role in setting priorities for America’s foreign policy priorities. The Senator has long been a champion for global development issues, ever since he took a year off of law school at Harvard to work at a Jesuit mission in Honduras. But as a representative of the people of Virginia, he needs us to support these issue, too. This is why I am writing in support of programs like the Global Fund, Gavi – the vaccine alliance, and USAID nutrition initiatives.
Extreme poverty has been cut in half since 1990 and can be virtually eliminated by 2030. We’ve come too far in the fight against extreme poverty to turn back now. Helping our neighbors in less fortunate circumstances isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do for the future of our nation and the world.