Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Editorials on Global AIDS Initiative Funding
The Senate last month approved an amendment to the the foreign operations appropriations bill (S 1426) that would add $289 million in additional funding for the first year of the five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative. The amendment would increase federal spending on the initiative for fiscal year 2004 to $2.4 billion, $400 million more than the Bush administration has requested. The House has approved $2.1 billion for the initiative. 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. Bush said that his administration requested less than $3 billion in order to give the program time to "ramp up." Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday introduced a motion urging House-Senate conferees to maintain the higher level of funding for the global AIDS initiative as outlined in the Senate version of the foreign operations appropriations bill (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/6). The following are summaries of two newspaper editorials regarding the funding:
Philadelphia Inquirer: Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) last week "stepped forward, urging America to keep its promise to fight" HIV/AIDS, as he played a "critical role in getting the Senate to pass" the amendment to increase AIDS funding, an Inquirer editorial says. Santorum's efforts could "help save many lives"; therefore, he "needs support as he keeps up this good fight," the editorial says. The House-Senate conference committee that must reconcile the two versions of the foreign operations spending bill should "protect the AIDS funding," the editorial says (Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/7).
- Minneapolis Star Tribune: Although the amendment does not bring global AIDS spending up to the full $3 billion, it is "welcome," especially because it "seems to signal a change of heart among formerly recalcitrant senators," a Star Tribune editorial says. The amendment also is "flexible," allowing extra funding to be channeled through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is important because the fund is "hailed as the shrewdest AIDS-fighting instrument around," the editorial says, concluding, "The trick now is to assure that the budget boost is preserved when the House and Senate committees meet to reconcile their bills" (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11/6).