Policy & Politics
Sen. Reid Sets Tuesday Deadline for Agreement on PEPFAR Reauthorization Legislation
June 20, 2008
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has set a Tuesday deadline for negotiators to come to an agreement on measures (HR 5501, S 2731) that would reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the AP/Google.com reports. In a statement released on Thursday, Reid said it is "confounding and indefensible" that seven Republican senators, led by Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), are blocking a vote. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the committee's ranking member, are working on a compromise, according to Reid (Abrams, AP/Google.com, 6/19). Coburn on Thursday said that he did not want to comment on the issue because negotiations were still ongoing with the White House (Reilly, The Politico/CBS News, 6/19).
Coburn and supporters of the block face "heavyweight" opponents who support passage of the reauthorization legislation, the AP/Google.com reports. Presumptive presidential nominees Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are both co-sponsors of the Senate bill. Obama recently said, "Today an estimated 40 million people around the world are living with HIV/AIDS, with over four million new infections in 2006 alone." He added, "I urge my colleagues to bring this important bill to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as possible." In addition, 14 Republican senators, led by Lugar, last month wrote Senate leaders urging quick consideration of the bill. They wrote that PEPFAR "has served as a powerful demonstration of U.S. leadership and compassion throughout the world." Lugar has stressed the need to act before President Bush goes to the summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations next month in Hokkaido, Japan (AP/Google.com 6/19).
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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.