Ideas. Action. Results.

Daschle and Frist: Saving Lives, Strengthening Nations

U.S. News & World Report

Monday, November 9, 2015

At a time when many Americans are frustrated with government and partisan politics, we should remind them about one of the great accomplishments of a generation: an ongoing initiative launched by a Republican president, extended by a Democrat and supported by large, bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress. It is also saving millions of lives in the world’s poorest countries while helping make the world safer.

PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief, is a potential example of what we call strategic health diplomacy, and a model for smart, effective and bipartisan foreign policy.

The original impetus behind the creation of PEPFAR was humanitarian. By 2000, over 34 million people were living with HIV/AIDS and nearly 20 million had already been killed by the disease. “Seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many,” President George W. Bush said in proposing PEPFAR in his 2003 State of the Union address.

Congress agreed, seizing the opportunity. We headed our respective parties in the Senate at that time, and are proud of the bipartisan cooperation that led to nearly unanimous endorsement of PEPFAR.