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Commentary & Opinion
Congress Should "Resolve" Issues Preventing Consideration of PEPFAR Reauthorization Legislation, Editorial Says

May 21, 2008

Although it is a "bit risky to herald progress during a global pandemic when infections of a disease such as AIDS still seem to multiply by the millions," the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief gives the U.S. a "record that is worth celebrating, if only to show others around the world what's possible," a Wilmington News Journal editorial says. PEPFAR has provided "millions of people hope for better and longer lives," the editorial says, adding that "[u]nfortunately, the PEPFAR [reauthorization] legislation hasn't made it to the Senate floor in two months."

A group of seven Republicans has "broken away" from the party's "obvious support in both chambers to sign a 'hold letter' to stop action on the reauthorization," the editorial says, adding, "These conservatives want stronger assurances that the reauthorization reflects their strong animus to abortion and support for abstinence counseling when it comes to family planning." Leadership in "both chambers needs to own up to the original bipartisanship" demonstrated with the creation of PEPFAR and "resolve what is a manageable tiff with the sulking seven," the editorial says. Allowing the reauthorization bill to "remain on the back burner any longer dooms it to become a victim of an attention-deficit, election-minded Congress come fall," according to the editorial, which concludes that without PEPFAR reauthorization, HIV/AIDS cases will continue to increase and more "lives will be lost. All of which is the antithesis of the lifesaving, preventive message our government should be championing" (Wilmington News Journal, 5/19).

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