$15 Billion AIDS Plan Wins Final Approval in Congress
May 22, 2003
The U.S. House gave final approval to President Bush's $15 billion global AIDS initiative Wednesday, clearing the way for Bush to sign the measure before he leaves next week to meet Western leaders for an economic meeting in Evian, France. The action brings the House measure, sponsored by Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.), into line with a version the Senate passed last week. That bill added a provision encouraging the Bush administration to begin negotiations that could lead to debt relief for nations hardest hit by AIDS.Adapted from:
The bill, which gives the federal government the authority to triple spending on global AIDS over the next five years, is intended to prevent and treat AIDS in 12 nations in Africa and two in the Caribbean. The measure makes good on a promise Bush made in January in his State of the Union address.
"I know that today my colleagues will be animated by the compassion and vision that has always defined what it means to be an American," said Hyde in the House chamber. That is the message Bush wants to take to next week's forum, where he will meet European leaders, and make the argument that other nations should follow the US lead and increase spending on AIDS.
The White House says its initiative will prevent 7 million new infections, provide antiretroviral drugs for 2 million infected people and care for 10 million patients as well as children who have lost their parents to the disease. But the measure does not provide the money to pay for the initiative; that will be left to House and Senate appropriators.
The initiative is not without controversy: some AIDS advocates say it provides too little money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, while others are upset about a provision that requires one-third of the prevention money to be set aside for programs that exclusively promote sexual abstinence until marriage. But initiative backers say it is an important step toward curbing the global AIDS epidemic.
New York Times
05.22.03; Sheryl Gay Stolberg