I am writing to discuss the Senate budget mark-up, which is taking place next week, and the role that the federal budget has in reducing the burden of tuberculosis worldwide. Next week, the Senate State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee (SFOPS) will decide whether or not to allocate more federal funds to global health, and more specifically to tuberculosis. 

Senator Richard Durbin is a member of the Senate SFOPS committee, and has a unique opportunity to help improve the number of lives lost every year to this disease. Worldwide, tuberculosis takes the lives of 1.7 million people every year, even though tuberculosis treatment is extremely cost-efficient and inexpensive. The disease particularly affects low- and middle-income countries, especially India, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If the U.S. were to allocate $150 million toward the treatment of drug-susceptible tuberculosis, that action alone would save the lives of 108,000,000 people. 

As a college student studying public health policy, this issue is extremely important to me. As a constituent of his, I am calling on Senator Richard Durbin to bring this issue to subcommittee next week during the mark-up. While the current administration continues to do an unimaginable amount of damage to families around the world, it is time to do something good. It is time to allocate $150 million to the USAID account to treat drug-susceptible TB.

Caroline Halsted 

Oak Park 

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