Policy & Politics
Sen. Reid Says He Will Try to Bring PEPFAR Legislation to Senate Floor on Wednesday
June 25, 2008
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said that he will attempt to bring legislation that would reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to the Senate floor on Wednesday, CQ Today reports (Graham-Silverman, CQ Today, 6/24).
Some Senate aides say they have resolved the treatment issue with language that would increase the targeted number of people treated and direct more than half of funding to "treatment and care," according to CQ Today. However, the aides said that objections from other senators, including objections over the cost of the bill, would continue. Sen. Richard Burr (R-S.C.), who is one of the seven blocking the legislation, said, "We have a verbal agreement," adding, "The devil is always in the details."
The Group of Eight industrialized nations summit, which begins on July 7 in Japan, is "putting pressure on all sides to complete the negotiations," according to CQ Today. President Bush has said that he supports the reauthorization legislation and that he would like it to pass in Congress so he can use it at the summit to call for increased contributions from other countries. According to Reid, Bush "said he wants it. Now we've got to get folks on the other side of the aisle, the Republicans, to join with the president on this."
A request for floor time for the bill was sent last month by 14 Republicans, including Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.). The letter "suggested that, with the support of Democrats, the measure would have the support needed to overcome any tests that require 60 votes," CQ Today reports. If successful, however, Reid would need to secure an agreement to limit amendments to prevent a prohibitively long debate. According to CQ Today, a crowded Senate schedule means that Democrats and Republicans could reach an agreement this week but decide to forgo floor action until after the July 4 recess. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, "I doubt if it's going to be done this week" (CQ Today, 6/24).
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.