U.S. President Bush's AIDS Plan Has Rivals
January 30, 2003
A day after proposing a huge spending increase to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, President Bush faced criticism from health activists and the specter of being trumped by the Senate Republican leader and a Democratic presidential aspirant.Adapted from:
While the White House pushed the Bush plan, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said it will consider next an even more generous bill sponsored by Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). That bill, which passed the Senate last year but died in the House, would authorize as much as $3 billion in AIDS spending for 2004. The Senate is expected to pass the bill as early as two weeks from now.
Speaking for the administration, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the president's proposals are "very consistent" with many elements of the Senate bill.
AIDS activists, who were initially pleased by the size of the president's AIDS pledge, were more dubious Wednesday and began pushing the administration to speed delivery of the money, expand the list of eligible countries to include India, China and Russia, and funnel more money through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. The Senate bill would direct about $1.25 billion to the fund. Bush is proposing $200 million in annual contributions to the fund, a reduction from the $300 million to $400 million Congress is expected to spend this year. Previously, Bush promised to boost aid to the fund as it demonstrated its ability to support worthy projects, and administration officials denied they were bypassing the fund. But some inside the White House are apparently skeptical of large donations to a multilateral body.
Major drug makers were caught off-guard by the proposal, which would spend half the increased funding on antiretroviral drugs for 2 million HIV-infected people. A spokesperson for GlaxoSmithKline said she did not see a windfall for the company, which already sells its important AIDS drugs at no profit in Africa.
Wall Street Journal
01.30.03; Michael M. Phillips; Rachel Zimmerman
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.