Letter from 29 U.S. Representatives to President George W. Bush Regarding Executive Order 13155

January 26, 2001

The Honorable George Walker Bush
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to you today as members of Congress who have been deeply involved in finding ways to expand access to affordable HIV and AIDS drugs for sub-Saharan Africa, to request a meeting. We worked hard to convince the previous administration to issue the May 10, 2000 Executive Order titled "Access to HIV/AIDS Pharmaceuticals and Medical Technologies." We are concerned because it has been reported in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Bloomberg News and elsewhere that you may rescind that Executive Order. We believe this would be a mistake, we urge you not to take such action, and request that you meet with us to discuss this issue.

The HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa not only presents a moral imperative for a U.S. role, but poses a serious threat to our security and that of the international community. Last year the United Nations Security Council designated the problem as a global security threat.

As you know, Africa bears the brunt of the HIV/AIDS crisis. In sub-Saharan Africa, between one-third and one-fifth of all children have already been orphaned by AIDS. Twelve million men, women, and children in Africa have already died of AIDS. Today in Africa, 5,500 people are buried daily because of AIDS and, according to UNAIDS, that number is expected to more than double in the next ten years. This disease will claim more lives than all the armed conflicts of the last century combined. But for most of the continent's population, life-saving drugs are not accessible due to exorbitant prices.

In the past, numerous African nations were dissuaded by the United States from taking steps to make some of these critical drugs more affordable. We believe that the Executive Order issued on May 10, 2000 was a step in the right direction and should be strengthened and not reversed. In the first days of your Administration you have made a commendable effort of reaching out to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. We believe that this is an issue that warrants dialogue and, again, urge you to meet with us before taking any action that would restrict the efforts sub-Saharan African nations are taking to deal with the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Thank you for your consideration of our request. We look forward to your response.

Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. James Leach

Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Rep. David Bonior

Rep. Sherrod Brown

Rep. Bernie Sanders

Rep. John Conyers

Rep. Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Rep. Barney Frank

Rep. Donna Christensen

Rep. Sam Farr

Rep. Jim McDermott

Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Rep. Tammy Baldwin

Rep. Donald Payne

Rep. George Miller

Rep. Dale Kildee

Rep. Henry A. Waxman

Rep. Howard Berman

Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Rep. Bob Filner

Rep. Nick Lampson

Rep. Joseph Crowley

Rep. Mike Honda

Rep. Bill Delahunt

Rep. Jane Harmon

Rep. Elijah Cummings

Rep. Nita Lowey

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