Congress Should Not ‘Turn Cheap’ When Appropriating Funds for Global AIDS Initiative, Dallas Morning News Editorial Says
Although the United States is "certainly ... in a budget crunch," the Senate "needs to adequately fund the first year" of President Bush's global AIDS initiative (HR 1298) when it returns from its August recess, a Dallas Morning News editorial says, adding that the House "shortchanged the start of the plan" by appropriating "about $2 billion" (Dallas Morning News, 8/3). Bush in May signed the measure, which authorizes $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. The House so far has approved a total of $2 billion for the AIDS initiative in fiscal year 2004, which represents only two-thirds of the $3 billion authorized in HR 1298 but fulfills Bush's budget request of $2 billion. The Senate Appropriations Committee last month approved an $18.1 billion FY 2004 foreign aid spending bill, including $1.4 billion to fight AIDS. Additional money for the initiative is expected to be included in other spending bills. In addition, the Senate on July 10 passed a nonbinding resolution calling for $3 billion to be appropriated in FY 2004 to fight AIDS overseas (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/31). "It's wrong for lawmakers suddenly to turn cheap when it comes to writing the check for the first year" of the initiative, the Morning News says. The battle against AIDS requires the resources of the private sector and "the commitment of foreign governments," the editorial says, adding that Bush "was right to put ours on the line. Congress should keep it there." The Morning News concludes, "If we have the resources to fight military battles, we certainly have them to battle a deadly disease" (Dallas Morning News, 8/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.