Senate Leader to Bring House Bill on AIDS to Floor to Speed Process
May 9, 2003
Pressed by conservatives and the calendar, US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) will bring a House-passed $15 billion global AIDS bill to the floor next week in hopes of sending legislation to President Bush before the Memorial Day recess. "This will be the cleanest and most efficient way to go," predicted Frist.Adapted from:
However, Frist's decision means bypassing old allies on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who favor a more aggressive US commitment to multilateral efforts to fight AIDS overseas. Authorizing as much as $2.2 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next two years, the Senate Foreign Relations bill is both more generous and imposes fewer conditions on when US contributions will be made. Given the tight Republican budget, final funding will have to be re-examined before the foreign aid budget is finalized next fall. A US government report this week warned the Global Fund is in danger of running out of money.
"I want more for the Global Fund and less of the restrictions," said Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), who appeared caught by surprise by Frist's decision. Wednesday night, Biden, together with FRC chair Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), had filed their own bill in anticipation of its being called up.
Lugar said he was told by Frist of his decision Thursday morning, and the two discussed the matter later in the day with Bush, aides say. "He feels the president feels it is the most likely way to getting a bill passed," Lugar said. Bush wants quick action to help leverage further international support for AIDS when the leading industrial nations meet in France next month.
Wall Street Journal
05.09.03; David Rogers
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.