Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Opinion Pieces on Global AIDS Funding
The Senate last month approved an amendment to 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, sponsored by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), 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.) last week 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 editorials and an opinion piece that discuss funding for the initiative:
Cincinnati Enquirer: "The congressional conference committee considering DeWine's [$289 million] amendment should act quickly" to approve the measure because "[l]ives are in the balance," an Enquirer editorial says. "The United States just decided to spend $87 billion to make a difference in two countries -- Iraq and Afghanistan. The HIV/AIDS funding may well keep 14 countries from sliding into chaos as disease cuts through their populations," the editorial says (Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/9).
Denver Post: Although "AIDS directly affects more people than terrorism ... funding the fight to eradicate [AIDS] has become a battle itself," and it "shouldn't be that way if the United States truly wants to be a compassionate world leader," a Post editorial says. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria should "be a key weapon in the United States' arsenal in fighting AIDS" because the fund is "already set up to do just what Bush's plan requires," and the fund "lacks government's tangling bureaucracy," the Post says, concluding, "The rest of the world is now waiting to see how much the U.S. chips in to the Global Fund" (Denver Post, 11/9).
- Joe Hallett, Columbus Dispatch: The additional money that the amendment would provide will "sav[e] lives," Hallett, senior editor at the Dispatch, writes in a Dispatch opinion piece. "Stopping AIDS is more than a public health necessity; it's a matter of national security," Hallett says, adding, "As the disease decimates Third World populations, particularly in Africa, it engenders the hopelessness and chaos in failed states that become havens for terrorists" (Hallett, Columbus Dispatch, 11/9).