House International Relations Committee Approves $1.3B for International HIV/AIDS Effort; Appropriations Subcommittee Approves $474M
The House International Relations Committee yesterday approved the compromise reached by Chair Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) that calls for $1.36 billion in U.S. funding for global HIV/AIDS initiatives, National Journal News Service reports. The committee approved the compromise, a substitute amendment to HR 2069, by a vote of 32-4. The revised bill would authorize $560 million in bilateral HIV/AIDS funds to be administered through USAID for FY 2002, $750 million for the Global AIDS and Health Fund and $50 million for a pilot drug program in developing nations. In addition, the approved bill would create a 12-member Global Health Advisory Board to assist the president, secretary of state and USAID administrator in implementing international health programs. The bill would also eliminate a 25% cap on contributions to multilateral aid (Warner, National Journal News Service, 6/27). Hyde said, "America must contribute its fair share as we work to leverage additional funds for this crusade from other developing countries. By providing this level of authorization, we can ensure that the contributions made by the United States will be adequate, and also yield the commitments from other countries to make this effort a truly global war on AIDS" (International Relations Committee release, 6/27). Hyde added that he "was prepared" for liberals to say that the bill's funding levels are "too low" and for conservatives to say they are "too high." But he said, "We think we have arrived at a workable figure that is not too low and not too high" (Zwillich, Reuters Health, 6/27). Lee said that the bill was a "good step in the right direction," but added that the United States needs "to invest much more money in this effort" (Lee release, 6/27). Lee said she would offer an amendment that would increase the $750 million figure to $1.2 billion (Reuters Health, 6/27).
Approving Palliative and Hospice Care
The committee also approved by voice vote an amendment by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) that would ask the government to promote the use of and provide assistance to international palliative and hospice care facilities (National Journal News Service, 6/27). Smith's amendment would make funds available to existing organizations that provide palliative and hospice care. He said, "The situation in many developing nations -- particularly in sub-Saharan Africa -- is so desperate that for most HIV/AIDS patients, therapeutic treatment is simply not an option. My amendment will help to expand existing hospice and palliative care networks to ensure that terminal HIV/AIDS sufferers are allowed to face the end with a measure of compassion, dignity and humanity" (Smith release, 6/27).
A Different Amount
In a separate action yesterday, the House Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee voted to provide $474 million for international HIV/AIDS efforts, including $100 million for the Global AIDS and Health Fund and $200 million for international disaster assistance. The Washington Post reports President Bush had requested those amounts (Washington Post, 6/28). Because the foreign operations subcommittee "approved a far lower figure" than the amount the International Relations Committee approved, it is unclear "how much of that money will eventually be appropriated," National Journal News Service reports (National Journal News Service, 6/27). Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), who co-sponsored the foreign operations subcommittee bill, predicted, "The challenge here is going to be on the appropriations side" (Reuters Health, 6/27).