Bush’s Proposed FY 2004 Budget Includes Increased Spending for Domestic, International AIDS Programs
President Bush yesterday delivered his fiscal year 2004 budget proposal to Congress, including "expanded campaigns" to fund domestic and international HIV/AIDS programs, the Los Angeles Times reports (Vieth, Los Angeles Times, 2/4). The budget includes $450 million toward Bush's proposed $15 billion, five-year program to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. The budget also recommends a grant of $200 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, with $100 million earmarked for the fund through HHS and $100 million through USAID. The president also proposed the establishment of a "special coordinator for international HIV/AIDS assistance," who would coordinate all HIV/AIDS international efforts and ensure accountability for all spending. The budget also recommends $300 million for the president's mother-to-child HIV prevention initiative, which was launched in 2002. The proposal of an additional $300 million, along with the $200 million Bush proposed in FY 2003, will meet the president's proposed $500 million dollar commitment to the program (White House fact sheet, 2/4). The budget also proposes increases for the Ryan White CARE Act, including an $100 million increase in funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (White House fact sheet, 2/4).
The following is a summary of reaction to the AIDS-specific parts of Bush's proposed FY 2004 budget plan:
AIDS Project Los Angeles: APLA "commends" Bush's proposed budget increases for domestic and international HIV/AIDS funding and "urges" both the president and Congress to continue to focus on the issue. However, due to state budget constraints, the increases "probably will still not meet the actual need," Daniel Montoya, APLA director of government affairs, said (APLA release, 2/3).
- Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.): Bono in a letter sent to Bush yesterday said that she is "hopeful" that Congress can work with the administration to "focus on the multiple needs" presented by the AIDS epidemic. Bono called Bush's increase in funding for the Ryan White CARE Act "laudable," adding that the "tremendous importance of this program cannot be ignored, as it delivers critical primary medical care, prescription drugs and other life-saving services to an estimated 500,000 men, women and children in the United States" (Bono release, 2/3).
Global AIDS Alliance: Bush's FY 2004 budget proposal "reverses progress in Africa" by "undermin[ing] the Global Fund" and by cutting millions from child survival, orphan support and development assistance priorities in order to fund the new AIDS initiative, Paul Zeitz, GAA executive director, said, adding, "Robbing one part of the budget from essential resources to pay for a new idea is wrong headed and unnecessary." Zeitz calls on Congress to consider granting emergency supplemental funds to "speed up" Bush's plan (GAA release, 2/3).
Health GAP: Bush "talked a good talk" in his State of the Union address, but he did not request enough funds for a "needed contribution" to the Global Fund, a Health GAP statement says. Health GAP recommends that the president "channe[l] his compassion for people with AIDS" into the Global Fund, which is "the most effective and efficient vehicle to address" HIV/AIDS, not into his proposed "go-it-alone bilateral" approach (Health GAP release, 2/3).
- San Francisco AIDS Foundation: The president's plan for domestic AIDS programs "falls short of what is needed" in many states and jeopardizes state ADAP and Housing and Opportunities for People With AIDS programs. While SFAF "commend[s]" the president's proposal for international AIDS programs, they state that Bush "must provide similar leadership in addressing the domestic AIDS crisis" (SFAF release, 2/3).