Global AIDS Funding in Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill Sparks Debate Among Conferees
A "fight" over global AIDS funding in the foreign operations appropriations bill (S 1426) is "brewing," CongressDaily reports (Cohn, CongressDaily, 11/14). The Senate last month approved an amendment to the appropriations bill 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.) on Nov. 5 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, 11/14). Some members of the House are calling for the $289 million to come from the Millennium Challenge Account, an assistance program for developing nations that encourages democracy and development through economic aid, according to CongressDaily. But some Senate Republicans and Irish rock star Bono -- founder of the debt, AIDS and trade advocacy group DATA -- are asking conference committee members not to cut funding for the Millennium Challenge Account, CongressDaily reports. Senate Republican Conference Chair Rick Santorum (Pa.) said that cutting funds from the Millennium Challenge Account is "unacceptable" (CongressDaily, 11/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.