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DeMint Announces PEPFAR Amendments

July 10, 2008

DeMint Announces PEPFAR Amendments

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) announced several amendments that he will offer to the $50 billion bill expanding and weakening the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

“Passing $50 billion in new spending at a time when our nation is deeply in debt is completely irresponsible,” said Senator DeMint. “We’re burying our kids and grandkids under a mountain of debt while we refuse to make tough decisions. American families are facing sky-high gas and food prices and have to sacrifice to make ends meet, but Congress just keeps spending and passing the bill on to someone else. It’s not right and it’s time for it to stop.”

“I supported the President’s original 2003 legislation, which has been a significant success. However, we cannot limitlessly fund worthy causes around the world and pretend we don’t have to pay for them.”

Senator DeMint will offer several amendments to the bill, including:

Reduce Spending Authorization from $50 billion to $35 billion
“The Congressional Budget Office says that this program is only capable of spending $35 billion yet this Congress is going to force it to spend much more. That doesn’t make any sense, and we need to reduce the spending.”

Repeal Ethanol Mandates, Subsidies, Tariffs that Sparked World Hunger Crisis Affecting Millions in Africa
“Our misguided biofuels policy has driven up food prices in the U.S. around the world. Congress should not pretend to be helping people in Africa with AIDS funding on the one hand while it starves them with an ethanol policy on the other. Our biofuels policy was a mistake, and we need to end it.”

Establish Government Program Sunset Commission
“This bill contains billions in deficit spending, and its time for Congress to stop mortgaging our future. We could help offset this new spending with a commission to review all government programs and recommend spending reductions to Congress. This is a common sense idea that should be included in this bill.”

Allow Drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf
“Another way to pay for this new spending is to open up the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas exploration. The federal government will share half of the royalties from new leases, and that’s money that could be used to offset this new spending.  If we’re going to double or even triple the spending on PEPFAR, we need to pay for it. By opening up offshore drilling, we could create a win-win for Americans by lowering gas prices and paying for this new spending.”

Prohibit Funds from Being Used to Promote Coercive Abortion in China
“This bill does not contain a prohibition on using funds to promote coercive abortions in China. Rather than focusing on treatment and prevention of AIDS among children in Africa, this legislation would allow the Global Fund to distribute monies to the agencies that promote coercive abortion in China. This is a serious problem and it must be addressed.


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