Lawmakers Should Persuade Administration To Support Full Funding for Global AIDS Initiative, Editorial Says
It is "up to those on Capitol Hill," including Pennsylvania Sens. Arlen Specter (R) and Rick Santorum (R), to "persuade the administration to abide by its promise" of appropriating $3 billion a year for five years -- for a total of $15 billion for fiscal years 2004 through 2008 -- to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, an Allentown Morning Call editorial says (Allentown Morning Call, 9/30). Although the measure (HR 1298) supporting the five-year, $15 billion initiative authorizes $3 billion for the first year of the program, the Bush administration has requested only $2 billion. The Senate last month rejected an amendment to the FY 2004 labor, health and education services appropriations bill (HR 2660) that would have added $1 billion to the roughly $2 billion already appropriated by the Senate for the initiative. The House has approved approximately $2 billion for the AIDS initiative in FY 2004 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/17). According to the editorial, Specter has "flip-flopped" on his support for $3 billion. In June, he called on the Senate Appropriations Committee "to seize this historic opportunity to save lives" with full funding. But last month, both Specter and Santorum opposed the HR 2660 amendment proposed by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) that would have added $1 billion, according to the Morning Call. The editorial concludes that "given the staggering, oftentimes surreal statistics of global AIDS," lawmakers "must ... aid those on the front lines of this horrible health catastrophe" and approve $3 billion in funding for FY 2004 (Allentown Morning Call, 9/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.