Senate Democrats Propose $900M in Emergency Relief for Africa, Including $100M for HIV/AIDS
Senate Democrats on Thursday introduced the Africa Famine Relief Act, which would provide $900 million in emergency relief for Africa, including $600 million in food aid, $200 million in disaster assistance and $100 million in HIV/AIDS-related aid, the Associated Press reports (Associated Press, 1/16). The legislation, which is backed by the Congressional Black Caucus and leading Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.), will offer emergency relief for Ethiopia, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland, including funding for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (Cowan, Reuters, 1/16). In order to "advance the proposal," Senate Democrats may attach part of the plan to a $390 billion spending bill for non-defense programs currently being debated in the Senate. The plan could also be attached to a different spending bill that could come up for debate later this year (Associated Press, 1/16). Daschle said that the aid is "the moral thing to do" and would help protect U.S. security interests because "[c]ountries that are starving and dying provide fertile ground for one thing -- terrorists." Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, supports the bill but "doubt[s]" that it will be passed, citing the "across-the-board" spending cuts proposed by Senate Republicans, according to Reuters (Reuters, 1/16). Democrats are considering introducing a similar aid bill in the House (Associated Press, 1/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.