Congressman Tom Lantos succumbed cancer today. He was 80 years old.
Congressman Lantos was a lion of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, serving as its ranking member and then chair. As a Holocaust survivor, concerns for global human rights drove his work. This translated into a deep appreciation and respect for the United Nations. The UN had no greater supporter on Capitol Hill than Congressman Lantos, who would go to the mat for the organization during painful fights over UN funding. In another testament to his dedication to the least among us, one of the last pieces of legislation Lantos worked on–just last week– would cut abstinence-only requirements to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and use those funds to boost spending on family planning services.
On a personal note, I have had the pleasure of serving as a director of the Lantos/Humanity in Action Fellowship Program. Our sympathies go out to his wife, Annette and his entire family.