Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

 

Pelosi Commends Passage of an Amendment for Global AIDS Food Program

July 11, 2001



Today on the floor of the House of Representatives, Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Eva Clayton (D-NC) offered an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill which provided $25 million in Food for Peace Program funding to reduce the burden of hunger for HIV/AIDS patients and orphaned children in the developing world. The amendment passed on a voice vote.

Mr. Chairman, I rise to join Rep. Clayton in offering this amendment to ensure continued funding to reduce the burden of hunger for HIV/AIDS patients and children orphaned by AIDS in the developing world. I commend Rep. Clayton for her leadership on this issue, which affects so many millions of families worldwide. I would also like to thank Ranking Member Kaptur and Chairman Bonilla for their leadership on the Subcommittee and their support for this amendment.

We have all heard the staggering statistics - 36 million people infected with HIV, 22 million deaths from AIDS, and nearly 14 million children orphaned. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said, AAIDS in Africa is a plague of biblical proportions. It is a holy war that we must win.@ It is indeed, and the battles in this war occur on many fronts.

Poor nutrition accelerates the progression from HIV to AIDS. In addition to the prevention, treatment, and infrastructure needs that must be addressed to stem the tide of the pandemic, we must also recognize that good nutrition is critical to any prevention and care strategy.

The impact of HIV/AIDS on poor families goes beyond the pain that accompanies the loss of a loved one. AIDS strikes people during their most productive years, and family income is cut by more than half when a parent is sick.

Household food production is undermined as limited financial resources are used for medical costs rather than crop production, and family members are forced to care for the sick rather than work in the fields. Many families must mortgage their land and sell productive assets, including livestock, to pay for food and medicine.

The U.S. has sought to reduce the burden of hunger that results from families’ diminished ability to produce food. Starting last year, $25 million was provided through the Food for Peace Program to improve food security through agricultural improvement, maternal and child health programs, and direct distribution of food commodities.

Today’s amendment continues this vital funding. I thank my colleagues for their support of this important amendment.


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