In Meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Lawmakers Declare HIV/AIDS a ‘Priority’
U.S. lawmakers meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday said they consider the fight against HIV/AIDS a congressional "priority," Agence France-Presse reports. Annan met with House Democratic Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), House Committee on International Relations Chair Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), a "known opponent of the United Nations," and Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who is slated to become the new Senate majority leader following Sen. Jim Jeffords' (I-Vt.) announcement yesterday that he was leaving the GOP. Daschle said, "The American people and the international community expect as much from the United States. With more than 36 million people already living with HIV/AIDS and 14,000 more contracting the virus every day, the secretary general is right to call for a coordinated response. Governments, foundations and corporations throughout the world must work together to confront this humanitarian, economic and security crisis" (Agence France-Presse, 5/25). Gephardt also agreed that the United States must lead the international community's commitment to fighting AIDS, saying, "[I]t's not nearly enough just to call attention to this issue. We must demonstrate our commitment to meeting this challenge and taking the lead on the moral issue of our time." Gephardt and several other House Democrats sent a letter to President Bush earlier this week urging him to include HIV/AIDS funding in the FY 2001 supplemental appropriations request he will soon send to Congress (Gephardt release, 5/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.