Senate Republicans Release Legislative Agenda; Includes Bill To Increase Global AIDS Funding
Republican Senate leaders on Friday released their legislative agenda, with a measure to increase funding to fight AIDS internationally among their top 10 bills, the New York Times reports. The list of bills, which cover "an unusually wide variety of health issues," reflect the interests of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, according to the Times. Frist used his "most passionate language" to express the need to spend $15 billion to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean (Firestone, New York Times, 2/15). President Bush in his State of the Union address announced a $15 billion, five-year initiative to fight HIV/AIDS in African and Caribbean nations. The plan includes $10 billion in new money. Under the initiative, new funds averaging an additional $2 billion per year would be phased in gradually to supplement the $1 billion per year the government now spends on AIDS; only $1 billion total would go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/14). Frist said, "This little virus is only 22 years old but has killed 23 million people. ... And in the best of all worlds, it's going to kill another 45 million. And I want the history books 30 years from now to look back and say America stood up and changed the course of history, which will affect tens of millions of people, saving their lives" (New York Times, 2/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.