In a political culture fraught with struggle and polarization, I am very grateful for the bipartisan work of congressional lawmakers as they came together from both sides of the aisle last month to pass the FY2014 omnibus appropriations bill. This bill will have great impact on the lives of the world’s most vulnerable, impoverished citizens.

For several years, less than 1 percent of our federal budget has gone toward the Global Fund to support programs that have saved the lives of millions of people. The Global Fund has helped to turn the tide as we fight against extreme poverty in the world.

This fund supports programs that provide AIDS treatment, anti-malarial bed nets and the vaccines and immunizations that are greatly needed on the African continent. Even though this funding comes from less than 1 percent of our national budget, it has had an enormous impact throughout the world as hunger, poverty and illness are addressed through various efforts. I believe we have a moral obligation to care for the most vulnerable among us, both locally and globally. And this bill helps to enable these efforts.

This bipartisan work of our lawmakers is to be commended. And I look forward to sharing information about these life-saving programs with Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King and others in our community over the year ahead.

The Rev. Ellen Schoepf

associate pastor

St. Ansgar Lutheran Church

PortlandONE.org member

Gorham