Senate Should Avoid Delays in Passage of House-Passed Global AIDS Bill, Rep. Hyde Says in Opinion Piece
The Senate "has an obligation to do something reflecting our commitment to human solidarity," and therefore should not delay their consideration of a House-passed global AIDS bill, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) says in a Washington Post opinion piece (Hyde, Washington Post, 5/14). The House earlier this month approved the bill (HR 1298), sponsored by Hyde, which would authorize $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. The bill would authorize $3 billion a year for five years for international HIV/AIDS programs, with up to $1 billion in fiscal year 2004 going to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/9). The Senate should consider the House bill instead of a Senate bill that is "substantially different from [the] bipartisan compromise," Hyde says (Washington Post, 5/14). Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) last week filed that bill in anticipation of the House-passed bill's being called up. The bill would be "more generous and impos[e] fewer conditions on when U.S. contributions will be made" to the Global Fund, authorizing as much as $2.2 billion for the fund over the next two years, according to the Wall Street Journal (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/9). According to Hyde, the consideration of a new bill would delay "naming a coordinator (that requires Senate confirmation) with broad powers to take executive action to fund bilateral and multilateral projects" and delay both the development of prevention and treatment programs and the pressure on the appropriations committees to provide the necessary funding. Such delays would keep President Bush from "us[ing] the enactment of this legislation to leverage support for worldwide AIDS efforts" at his meeting with G-8 leaders in June. Hyde concludes, "The Senate has an opportunity this week to do something of significant and lasting importance. ... It is my hope that the Senate will be animated by the compassion -- and the vision -- that has always defined what it means to be an American" (Washington Post, 5/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.