Washington, D.C. — Today a bipartisan group of senior congressional members, led by Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep Barbara Lee (D-CA), introduced legislation, HR 6651, that would extend the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for another five years. 

Smith and Lee were joined by original cosponsors Reps Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Karen Bass (D-CA). 

The cosponsors of the bill released the following statement:

“PEPFAR has been a spectacularly successful program that has saved the lives of many, particularly in Africa and the rest of the developing world. Started under President George W. Bush and continued for the last 15 years under  both Republican and Democratic administrations, PEPFAR is a statement of bipartisan resolve to better the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

“Our strong, bipartisan proposal to extend the program for another five years is particularly important in this politically polarized time, and we call upon our colleagues in the House and the Senate to put aside partisan differences and find common ground.”

With the current PEPFAR authorization expiring at the end of September, the six legislators vowed to maintain consensus and seek quick passage of the bill.