Bush Urges Republicans at Weekend Retreat To Pass AIDS Initiative ‘As Quickly As Possible’
President Bush yesterday urged Republican lawmakers to "quickly" approve his proposal to increase funding for the international fight against AIDS through his global AIDS initiative, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports (AP/Long Island Newsday, 2/10). Speaking yesterday at the "Congress of Tomorrow" Republican retreat in Sulpher Springs, W.V., Bush talked about the "thousands of abandoned children" and the "destruction of human life" wrought by AIDS in Africa. "[W]e need to do something about it," Bush said, adding, "I want to work with you to get the AIDS initiative passed out of the Senate and House as quickly as possible. It is a ... plan of mercy. It's an important initiative. It's a vital initiative. Because we're talking about saving human life." Bush concluded his remarks on his plan, "There is no doubt that when you pass this initiative, when our time in Washington, D.C., is passed ... that we'll say we heard the call, the cry of the people who suffer and we responded. And the world is a better place because of the actions we took" (Speech text, 2/9).
Minneapolis Star-Tribune Profiles Sen. Coleman's 'Signature Issue'
The Minneapolis Star Tribune today profiles Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), for whom AIDS has "become a signature issue." Coleman, who on Wednesday was appointed to the Senate African Affairs subcommittee, last week met with the prime ministers of Uganda and Kenya to discuss the AIDS pandemic. AIDS in Africa has "suddenly found urgency" in Washington, D.C., among lawmakers after the announcement of Bush's AIDS initiative during his State of the Union address, according to the Star Tribune (Hotakainen/Ford, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2/10).