National Feature

Don’t Let the United States Surrender the War on AIDS: An Action Alert from Duke Global Health Brigades

AUTHOR: BRAVEEN RAGUNANTHAN

As many of you have heard, Global Health funding is in extremedanger in the current Congressional budget negotiations. Congress is scrambling to put together a last-minute budget deal before they leave for Winter Recess, and on the table right now is a proposal to increase defense spending by $6 billion at the expense of spending on aid programs like PEPFAR. In addition, $300 million for the Global Fund – which itself is in dire need – that usually is put in the Health & Human Services bill might simply disappear completely. This is outrageous.We’re asking Duke students to call the following four representatives and sound the alarm:

Rep. Hal Rogers (House Appropriations Chairman) — (202) 225-4601
Sen. Daniel Inouye (Senate Appropriations Chairman) – (202) 224.3934
Sen. Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader –  202-224-3542
Sen. Patrick Leahy (Senate State and Foreign Operations) – (202) 224-4242

We think we can get 100 calls to each of those 4 offices – can you help? Call, then ask your roommate to call.

Here’s a script you can use, but please feel free to modify based on your own personal experiences or the reasons that global health funding is important to you. When you call, just deliver this message (in a personable way) to the person at the desk – they’ll keep track, and with 100 calls in a day, we’ll definitely get on their radar!
“Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a student at _____. I’m calling with regards to life-saving funding for AIDS treatment around the world. Because of the last-minute increase in defense spending, funding for global health programs are in extreme danger. We now have the science to end the AIDS epidemic, but if Congress prioritizes the military over saving lives, we’ll lose our chance. I’m asking that Senator/Representative ____ protect global health funding for PEPFAR from cuts caused by an increase in spending on defense contractors. Protect global health funding for PEPFAR in the state and foreign operations bill!”

(For Representative Rogers/Senator Inouye, you can add that you want them to keep the $300 million for the Global Fund for AIDS, TB, and Malaria in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill.)
The calls will take less than a minute. You could do all four of them in a quick finals study break! Will you help? I know now is a busy time with exams – we’re all scrambling to finish the semester strong. But this will be the most important study break you take all day.

Please email Braveen br36@duke.edu or call/txt him at 330-232-1840 just to say if you made the phone calls (or if you have more questions).
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