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National News
Bush Administration Prepares New Aid Program to Fight AIDS

June 7, 2002

The Bush Administration is preparing a new US aid program to fight the spread of AIDS overseas, with special emphasis on medication to reduce mother-to-child transmission of the disease. The assistance would come in a new bilateral program administered by the United States and giving Washington a more direct role in the management of the funds, as opposed to the multilateral Global Fund to Combat AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The first $250 million US contribution to the Global Fund was recently released but the administration has resisted efforts in Congress to add millions more to the fund.

The Senate last night defeated an effort to set aside an additional $500 million in emergency funding that would be available to the Global Fund. In the course of debate, Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) revealed the outline of the administration initiative, which he described as substantial. At Frist's request, senators agreed to a $200 million AIDS-related appropriation as a forerunner to the new administration program, which is expected to be "in the order" of the same $500 million discussed last evening.

Democrats supportive of the Global Fund said they were prepared to give the administration more discretion in using the money made available. And there was clear concern that the new initiative will become a device to delay funding.

The debate came as the Senate neared passage last evening of a $31.5 billion emergency spending bill to finance the war against terrorism and homeland security. Even before the addition of the AIDS funds, the underlying bill was at least $4 billion over the administration's request. But Frist, who has been in discussions with the White House, said he is confident the commitment to the new AIDS initiative would be met.

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Excerpted from:
The Wall Street Journal
06.07.02; David Rogers

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