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Congresswoman Calls for $6 Billion for Global Fund

A California congresswoman is calling on the Obama administration to make a three-year, six billion dollar commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Barbara Lee has just returned from attending the opening days of the 18TH International AIDS Conference in Vienna. She says she understands her proposal comes at a time of economic hardship.

“I recognize, especially being from the United States, the impact of the global economic slowdown. And of course we have a huge unemployment rate here in America, especially in areas where we have millions of people, who been chronically unemployed in the African American and Latino communities.”

But she adds, “It’s a matter of priority.”

Taking aim at the Pentagon

Lee, who’s the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, says money for her Global Fund proposal could come if the defense budget if the defense budget is examined carefully.

“When you look at, for example, the wasteful Pentagon budget, there are many weapons systems,” she says, “that just don’t need to be there. They’re based on Cold War era weapons systems that need to be really written out of the budget.”

Lee says eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Pentagon budget would also free up funds. Another target, she says, is tax breaks for the wealthy.

The Democratic lawmaker says, “It’s about the quality of life and saving lives.” Lee says about 65 members of Congress support her Global Fund proposal. She’s hoping for the support of at least 100.