U.S.: House Votes to Give Momentum to $15 Billion AIDS Program
April 3, 2003
On Wednesday, the House International Relations Committee voted 37-8 to approve a bill authorizing $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS around the world. The approval came after lawmakers turned back attempts to give priority to abstinence programs over condom distribution.Adapted from:
In his State of the Union address, President Bush challenged Congress to come up with $15 billion for the AIDS effort, particularly in hard-hit areas of Africa. But legislative action has been slow as the White House and Congress have sought agreement on issues such as how much money should go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and how to answer the concerns of conservative groups.
Committee Chair Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) inserted language to make sure no AIDS-fighting group would be deprived of funds because it did not endorse a particular preventive method, like condom distribution. Committee conservatives pushed unsuccessfully for a stronger "conscience clause" for religious groups. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) offered an amendment stating that while condoms could be a part of AIDS strategies, promoting abstinence and monogamy should have priority. But by a 24-20 vote, the committee sided with a version offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) that does not give preference to any one prevention method. Supporters of this approach said it was a mistake to focus on any one strategy when local customs vary widely.
By a 24-22 vote, the committee agreed to an amendment by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) that would deny funds to any group that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.
The House bill (HR 1298) would allow up to $1 billion to be given to the Global Fund in budget year 2004, and it adds oversight functions to assure the fund runs efficiently. The White House has proposed $200 million a year over five years for the fund.
04.03.03; Jim Abrams
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.