Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Editorials on Global AIDS Initiative Funding
Two papers recently published editorials discussing the funding appropriated by Congress for Bush's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative. The House has approved approximately $2 billion for the AIDS initiative in fiscal year 2004. The Senate on Tuesday rejected 43-51 an amendment to the FY 2004 $137.6 billion spending bill for labor, health and education services that would have added $1 billion in funding for the initiative to the roughly $2 billion already appropriated (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/11). Although the measure (HR 1298) supporting the initiative authorizes $3 billion for the first year of the program, the Bush administration has requested only $2 billion, saying that the program needs to "ramp up" before it can absorb more funding (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/26). Summaries of the editorials appear below:
Indianapolis Star: The global AIDS initiative would be more effective if Congress approved greater funding levels at the beginning of the program, a Star editorial says. While the "sluggish" economy makes it crucial for Congress to "scrutinize how every dollar is spent," AIDS is a "life-and-death issue," and the United States "must not shirk its responsibility to lead the global community," the editorial says. "While Congress dickers away time debating how much to spend in the global battle against AIDS and related diseases, more lives are lost," the editorial concludes (Indianapolis Star, 9/12).
- Oregonian: The Bush administration's claims that the AIDS initiative cannot effectively use the full $3 billion authorized for the first year of the program is a "weak excuse, and the Senate should reject it," an Oregonian editorial says. The communities in need of this funding are "growing, not shrinking" and while the new Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator at the State Department may not be able to absorb the funds, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is positioned to do so, the editorial says. The Senate still has an opportunity to take action to "help reverse this awful epidemic" by adding an amendment to the foreign operations appropriations bill, the editorial says, concluding, "They should support the $3 billion appropriation to battle AIDS worldwide" (Oregonian, 9/11).