Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approves Bipartisan Bill to Increase International AIDS Spending to More Than $2B Annually
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday passed on a voice vote a bill (S 2525) that would double U.S. funding to help fight HIV/AIDS internationally from $1 billion this year to more than $2 billion a year through 2004, CongressDaily reports. The bill, which is sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and supported by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), the ranking member on the committee, would require the United States to develop a five-year plan to reduce AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses, including tuberculosis and malaria, globally. The legislation also includes language on the treatment for HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries (CongressDaily, 6/14). "This is a critical moment in the world's fight against AIDS and infectious disease, and I hope that (Treasury) Secretary (Paul) O'Neill ... will urge the administration to follow the model of what we've done in the Senate to respond accordingly," Kerry said. Half of the $2 billion for FY 2003 would be unblocked for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The bill now moves to the full Senate, which is expected to consider it in September. Last December, the House passed a one-year $1.3 billion global AIDS bill (HR 2069), which included $750 million for the Global Fund (Agence France-Presse, 6/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.