Commentary & Opinion
Congress Must Resist "Ideological Extremes" When Reauthorizing PEPFAR, Opinion Piece Says
March 12, 2008
The late Reps. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), who created draft legislation to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, both knew how "legislative compromise could serve an honorable cause," Michael Gerson, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a columnist for the Washington Post, writes in a Post opinion piece. Lantos and Hyde, "while shepherding the first" PEPFAR bill through the House five years ago, created a compromise that "separated AIDS relief from the partisan debate over abortion," Gerson writes. He adds that under the original PEPFAR bill, funding focused on the ABC approach -- which stands for practice abstinence, be faithful and use condoms -- and that the program "also helped provide AIDS treatment on a large scale for the first time."
By "resisting these ideological extremes," lawmakers "can participate in something extraordinary -- a true miracle of science and conscience, and politics at its noblest," Gerson writes. "A president proposes action, good men and women in the tradition of Lantos and Hyde pass a law, and ... many more are saved," he adds, concluding, "In the end, they are the best reasons for Congress" to reauthorize PEPFAR (Gerson, Washington Post, 3/12).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.