House Approves $19.4B FY 2005 Foreign Operations Spending Bill, Including $2.2B for AIDS, TB, Malaria Programs
The House on Thursday approved a $19.4 billion foreign aid spending bill for fiscal year 2005, which includes $2.2 billion for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria initiatives, Reuters reports (Willard, Reuters, 7/16). Although the approved funding -- most of which will go to AIDS programs -- meets President Bush's request for FY 2005, the House allocated a larger portion of the money to the Global Fund than Bush had requested. Bush's proposed FY 2005 budget, which is $1.9 billion more than the total amount the House approved, includes $2.8 billion for international HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria programs. That amount includes $1.45 billion for the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, which will administer the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and $200 million for the Global Fund. Because the House spending bill would double the requested Global Fund contribution to $400 million, less money would go to PEPFAR (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/15). The bill contains $1.26 billion for the global AIDS coordinator's office (Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation release, 7/15).
Amendment Would Limit Conference Attendees
The House approved an amendment to the appropriations measure that would allow no more than 50 federal employees to attend an international conference. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), who sponsored the amendment, said, "My constituents often ask me why Congress continues to spend so much despite the fact that we have a deficit and an ever-growing national debt. This amendment represents common sense and fiscal discipline." Garrett said that for the same cost as registering 130 federal employees to attend the XV International AIDS Conference that ended Friday in Bangkok, Thailand, the government could have provided a dose of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine to more than 200,000 infants in Africa to reduce the risk of HIV transmission from mother to child (Garrett release, 7/15).
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation applauded the bill for including funding for the care and treatment of children living with HIV/AIDS and the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission. "We are extremely pleased that [foreign operations subcommittee Chair Jim ] Kolbe (R-Ariz.) and Ranking Member [Nita] Lowey (D-N.Y.) are working to include the world's 2.5 million HIV infected children in the U.S. response to the global pandemic," EGPAF Vice President Mark Isaac said, adding, "Scientists and HIV/AIDS leaders around the world agree that no global agenda for HIV/AIDS care and treatment is complete without attention to children's unique medical needs" (EGPAF release, 7/15).