Policy & Politics
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approves PEPFAR Reauthorization Bill
March 14, 2008
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday voted 18-3 to approve a bill (S 2731) that would reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief at $50 billion over five years, CQ Today reports. Committee members agreed to hold amendments to the bill until full Senate consideration. According to CQ Today, the three votes against the bill came from Republicans who objected to allocating $50 billion to the program (Graham-Silverman, CQ Today, 3/13). PEPFAR originally was authorized at $15 billion over five years, and President Bush has called on Congress to reauthorize the program at $30 billion over five years.
Both the Senate and House versions of the bill would remove a requirement that at least one-third of HIV prevention funds that focus countries receive through PEPFAR be used for abstinence-until-marriage programs. They also would retain the requirement that PEPFAR recipients pledge opposition to commercial sex work. Both versions would require a report to Congress if abstinence and fidelity programs account for less than 50% of prevention spending in each PEPFAR focus country (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/13).
In addition, the Senate version includes a requirement that 10% of funds be allocated for services aimed at AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children, according to Foreign Relations Committee Chair Joseph Biden (D-Del.) (Povich, CongressDaily, 3/14). It also includes a provision, introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), that would lift some U.S. HIV/AIDS-related travel restrictions. Included in the $50 billion allocated by the Senate version are $4 billion for tuberculosis programs and $5 billion for malaria efforts worldwide (Abrams, AP/Google.com, 3/13).
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.