U.S. House Passes Overseas Funding of $15 Billion to Combat AIDS
May 2, 2003
The House approved legislation pledging $15 billion over the next five years to fight AIDS overseas, directed at programs for Africa and the Caribbean. The 375-41 vote represents a victory for President Bush, who wants quick Senate action this month and hopes to leverage further international support for AIDS when the leading industrial nations meet in France next month.Adapted from:
But to placate conservatives, concessions were made on contentious social issues, and it is unclear if Congress can deliver on the promised funding, given spending limits of the Republican budget.
For the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the bill authorizes $3 billion, including as much as $1 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This is significantly more than the White House requested in its budget, and Republicans provided still less room for the Appropriations Committees in the spending plan adopted last month.
"The budget resolution doesn't permit fiscal 2004 funding anywhere near the $1 billion" for the Global Fund, said Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), who must manage the foreign aid appropriations bill later this summer and fall.
"The proof of the pudding will be when we go to Appropriations and see what the funding is in there," said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "We have something very dramatic, and I applaud it and hope that it will be sustained."
The spending levels also are a concern among Republicans, and a majority voted in favor of an unsuccessful amendment to pare back the 2004 assistance by $1 billion. But the more divisive fights were over abortion and abstinence.
The White House successfully kept the bill free of litmus tests that would bar participation by nonprofit groups based on their beliefs on abortion rights. If there was a proxy fight, it was over the relative priority to give condoms compared with abstinence programs. Bush supported language -- narrowly adopted 220-197 -- that assures a third of prevention funds in the bill will be spent for abstinence programs.
Wall Street Journal
05.02.2003; 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.