Congress Likely To Approve Bush Budget Proposal for PEPFAR, Millennium Challenge Account Funding, CQ Today Reports
Although there "may be a movement, at least in the House," to lessen expectations for fiscal year 2006 foreign operations spending, it is "unlikely" Congress will cut appropriations for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Millennium Challenge Account, CQ Today reports (Kady II, CQ Today, 5/9). President Bush's proposed FY 2006 budget includes $3.2 billion for PEPFAR, including $300 million for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. PEPFAR is a five-year, $15 billion program that directs funding for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria primarily to 15 focus countries and provides funding to the Global Fund. In November 2004, Congress approved a FY 2005 omnibus spending package that included $2.9 billion to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria -- $99 million more than Bush had requested and much of which went to PEPFAR. Bush's budget proposal also includes $3 billion for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which was created to administer funds for the MCA, a program meant to encourage economic and political reforms in developing countries. Although the proposed $3 billion is an increase of $1.5 billion over MCC's FY 2005 funding, the amount is less than the $5 billion Bush had planned for FY 2006 when he created MCA in 2002 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/8).
Although Republican appropriators in Congress say there are no "sacred cows" in the appropriations process, MCA likely will be funded at Bush's proposed level because "Bush has touted the program as the best way to allocate U.S. foreign aid," according to CQ Today. In addition, many lawmakers will be working to defend global HIV/AIDS funding, according to CQ Today. "HIV and AIDS will be a major priority, as well as Millennium Challenge," Jenny Manley, a spokesperson for Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), said. However, some Democrats "worry" that the focus on MCA and PEPFAR under a "tight budget cap" could mean other programs, such as traditional development assistance and children's survival, could be cut from Bush's proposal, according to an unnamed Democratic aide, CQ Today reports (CQ Today, 5/9).