Washington D.C. – Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today introduced the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act. This legislation aims to extend critical PEPFAR and Global Fund authorities and strengthen oversight to ensure that access to essential prevention and treatment services continue for the millions who benefit from HIV/AIDS programs worldwide. The introduction of this legislation signals continued congressional commitment to PEPFAR and its goal of making an AIDS-free generation a reality. The current PEPFAR authorization ends September 30, 2013.
Ranking Member Eliot Engel said: “From its very inception, PEPFAR has been a testament to the bipartisan efforts of both Republican and Democratic administrations to prevent millions of unnecessary deaths from the global scourge of HIV/AIDS. PEPFAR’s decade-long track record of success has shown that sustained U.S. commitment will have a real impact on the lives of those infected with this disease. To date, nearly six million pople have obtained life-saving antiretroviral treatment from PEPFAR and it has helped prevent over one million children from contracting HIV/AIDS from their infected mothers. We cannot forget that the U.S. has a moral responsibility to do whatever we can to slow fatality rates and ultimately help stamp out this deadly disease.”
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the Committee and an original cosponsor of the bill said: “This legislation is critical to overseeing this important program and ensuring that congressional priorities are maintained.”
Among the major provision in the legislation, the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act would include:
• Coordination by the Inspectors General: Extends the requirement for the State, USAID, and HHS Inspectors General to develop annual, joint oversight/audit plans. This has enhanced Congressional oversight and forced better coordination between State, USAID, and CDC.
• Cost Studies: Extends a reporting requirement intended to capture per-patient costs for PEPFAR-supported treatment and care. This is a key element of oversight and a useful tool for monitoring treatment costs.
• Caps U.S. Participation in the Global Fund: Extends the current 33 percent limitation on U.S. contributions to the Global Fund, continues proportional withholding requirements related to State Sponsors of Terrorism, and a 20 percent withholding requirement related to Global Fund management reforms. The 33 percent cap serves as an effective tool for leveraging other donor funding, and the withholding requirement has leveraged substantial reforms at the Global Fund.
• A Robust Annual Report. Updates the existing annual report on PEPFAR to better reflect the program’s movement away from strictly U.S. supported and toward greater country ownership. As PEPFAR has transitioned from an emergency plan to a program focused on building country ownership and ensuring sustainable results, the information needed to conduct effective oversight have changed significantly, and therefore the reporting requirements from the office of the Global AIDS Coordinator have been updated to reflect the transition PEPFAR is undergoing.
• Protected Funding for Treatment and Orphans and Vulnerable Children. Extends existing funding requirements for treatment (at least 50 percent) and orphans and vulnerable children (10 percent).