Wednesday, January 10, 2007
The Iraq War is horrific, no question--3,000 U.S. soldiers dead, an untold number of civilian casualties. 9/11 was horrific, no question--2,992 people dead. But the new Democratic Congress may soon do something that will kill far, far more.
The ONE Campaign reports: Congress is set to pass a "continuing resolution" (CR), a move that will keep 2007 [Millennium Development Goals] funding levels equal to those of 2006. For the fight against global poverty, that means HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis programs will not receive a billion dollars in increased funding for the new year.
There are 39.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS today, and 4.3 million people were infected with HIV/AIDS during 2006. Without the increase expected for 2007, programs in the poorest countries in the world will have to stop enrolling new patients and, according to Mark Dybul, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, an estimated 110,000 to 175,000 people will die. This money had already been promised, and should have been a no-brainer given the party shift. Congress is about to cut it off anyway. The 110,000 to 175,000 figure, by the way, is just counting HIV-AIDS--taking into account deaths from malaria and other preventable diseases, the figure could easily reach a quarter million. Casually, without debate, with a single Continuing Resolution.
We all recognize that the Democratic Congress has an agenda that it would like to enact within the first 100 hours. I agree with that agenda. But under no circumstances should this take the back burner; if Congress were to end oil subsidies a few days late to save the lives of a quarter-million people, I think voters would understand.
You know what to do. The ONE Campaign is proof that petitions work, but they only work if we fill them out--so let's do it.
Bump. This is a biggie, folks. If the Democratic Congress kills the additional MDG funding, they've blown it as far as I'm concerned--I almost don't care what else they do this year.
- Tom Head