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Cutting from the wrong category

Dear Editor,

This past Saturday, the House made a decision to make cuts within the federal budget regarding humanitarian assistance. As the Senate debates on what stays and what goes, what gets cut and what gets funded, I want to remind senators of what is right and what is wrong.

I am a student at Drake University. I will graduate next year. If there is anyone who is concerned about our growing deficit, it’s me.  After all, it will be me and people my age who will have to deal with it down the line.  However, even though I believe that cuts need to be made, I also believe those cuts need to be wise.

Cuts to Bush’s PEPFAR initiative (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis make no sense to me whatsoever. Money for these programs make up less than 1 percent of our federal budget, yet, if cut, could kill millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.  Cutting this assistance is not going to help reduce the deficit much, but it will have real, immediate and devastating effects for the world’s poorest. It will mean roughly 10 million bed nets to fight malaria will not be provided; 6 million treatments for malaria will not be administered; 4 million people will not be tested for HIV and 60,000 pregnant women who also carry HIV will not receive treatments to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the deadly virus.

As a member of the ONE Campaign, a non-partisan advocacy organization that aims to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, I stand with two million like-minded people across the globe, many of whom are Americans distraught by what the House’s cuts mean.  It is our moral duty to make sure that in the quest to reduce the deficit, we do not reduce our funding and compassion for the world’s poorest.  It is my hope that Senator Coons and Senator Carper remember that as they make decisions on our federal budget this week.  If America wants to continue to be a great world leader, it must lead with forward-thinking and a strong sense of right and wrong.

Hilary Rice


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