House Passes Supplemental Spending Bill Including $200M in Additional Funding for Global AIDS Fund
The House around 3 a.m. this morning passed a $29 billion fiscal year 2002 supplemental spending bill (HR 4775), the AP/Hartford Courant reports (Fram, AP/Hartford Courant, 5/24). The bill included an additional $200 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (HR 4775 text, 5/24). The $200 million allocation supplements $650 million in FY 2002 global AIDS spending that is already allocated for the fund and USAID (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/13). The measure was approved last week by the House Appropriations Committee but had been "bog[ged] down in partisan rancor," the New York Times reports (Mitchell, New York Times, 5/24).
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved $100 million in additional funding for the global fund as part of its FY 2002 supplemental appropriations bill, United Press International reports. However, the figure fell "far short" of the goal of $700 million sought by AIDS advocates. Sens. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) had stated their intention to add a separate amendment to the bill that would increase the U.S. contribution by $700 million but decided to hold off on the amendment until the bill reaches the Senate floor. Specter said that the funding is needed because HIV/AIDS is "quickly destroying both the social and economic framework of many countries in the developing world," which could "lead to political instability in several African nations and presen[t] a prime target for terrorists as they search for their next base of operations." The United States has already pledged $300 million to the fund, which was created by the United Nations to provide money for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in developing nations. Activists have called for the government to donate $1.3 billion in FY 2003. "The fund is going to go bankrupt by the end of the year without this emergency infusion of cash," Paul Davis of ACT UP Philadelphia said (Mitchell, United Press International, 5/22). Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) yesterday sought a unanimous vote to bring the Senate version of the supplemental spending bill to the floor but was "blocked" by Republicans who wanted more time to review the legislation (Caruso/Wegner, CongressDailyAM, 5/24).