House Rules Committee Takes Action on PEPFAR Reauthorization Bill Ahead of Floor Consideration
April 2, 2008
The House Rules Committee on Tuesday took action on a bill (HR 5501) that would reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief ahead of floor consideration of the measure, which is scheduled for Wednesday, CQ Today reports (Graham-Silverman, CQ Today, 4/1). The measure, which was approved in February by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would allocate $50 billion for PEPFAR over the next five years. President Bush had called on Congress to authorize a $30 billion, five-year extension of PEPFAR. The bill also 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. It would require "balanced funding" for abstinence, fidelity and condom programs based on evidence in each PEPFAR focus country. In addition, the bill would retain the requirement that PEPFAR recipients pledge opposition to commercial sex work.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) attempted to gain Rules Committee approval to offer an amendment during floor consideration to eliminate a phrase in the bill that some advocates say could remove funding for family planning groups that currently receive PEPFAR money. According to CQ Today, 45 HIV/AIDS groups last week sent a letter to lawmakers in support of such efforts. "The effect of the language as it is could be interpreted to actually restrict access to those services," Jennie Quick -- the government affairs manager at Population Services International, one of the groups that signed the letter -- said. The Rules Committee did not allow the amendment, CQ Today reports.
The Rules Committee also rejected an amendment that would have changed a reference to "health care professionals and workers" to "health care professionals." The committee did approve four amendments to:
The White House in a policy statement said that it supports the PEPFAR reauthorization bill but hopes to resolve some concerns about provisions in the bill that it says would limit the president's authority to conduct foreign policy (CQ Today, 4/1).
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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.