Congress Should ‘Adequately Fund’ Global AIDS Initiative, Sen. Rick Santorum Says in Washington Times Opinion Piece
President Bush's global AIDS initiative "needs to be adequately funded, and it's [the job of] Congress to make that happen," Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) writes in a Washington Times opinion piece (Santorum, Washington Times, 7/16). Bush in May signed into a law a five-year, $15 billion AIDS initiative (HR 1298), which aims to prevent seven million new HIV infections, provide care for 10 million people living with the disease and provide treatment to two million HIV-positive people. The House so far has approved a little more than $2 billion for international AIDS efforts for fiscal year 2004. The Senate on Thursday approved 78-18 a nonbinding resolution calling for $3 billion in FY 2004 to fight AIDS overseas, even if the amount exceeds the ceiling mandated in Congress' annual budget resolution (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/15). In order for Bush to "fulfill his promises of hope and partnership to the African nations ravaged by HIV/AIDS" -- including the five nations he recently visited on his five-day trip to Africa -- the administration and Congress "need to work together to navigate the budget appropriations process and show that our commitment is not just on paper," Santorum says, adding, "I hope Congress will agree that meeting this responsibility is the right thing to do because it has the potential to save millions of lives. We cannot afford to let this historic opportunity pass us by." He concludes, "Our humanitarian mandate is clear, and our commitment should be as well" (Washington Times, 7/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.