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Chair Cardin 'Deeply Disappointed' by PEPFAR One-Year Reauthorization

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement on congressional Republicans' refusal to reauthorize the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for five years. This is the first time the historically bipartisan initiative was not renewed for a five-year period since it was established by President George W. Bush in 2003.

“PEPFAR – one of the most successful and bipartisan foreign assistance programs in our nation’s history – is a prime example of the compassion of the American people and a recognition of the moral imperative to help the world’s most vulnerable. While I am relieved that funding for this critical program was extended for one year, I am deeply disappointed that the traditional five-year reauthorization wasn’t secured in this year’s appropriations package.

“Despite PEPFAR being reauthorized three times over the span of four presidential administrations and consistently securing the bipartisan backing of members of Congress in both chambers, a handful of Republicans manufactured a crisis that hurled this apolitical program into America’s culture wars, effectively leaving it on life-support and putting America’s role as a global leader in the fight to end HIV/AIDS in question. I encourage all of my colleagues to prioritize the well-being of the millions who rely on PEPFAR for life-saving support by passing a five-year extension before the end of the 118th Congress.”