New York Times Examines Dynamics Between Bush Administration, Congress on Increased Funding for International HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria Programs
The New York Times on Friday examined recent efforts by the Democrat-led House "to rescue" one of President Bush's "international priorities: the global fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis" (Dugger, New York Times, 2/2). The House on Wednesday voted 286-140 to approve a $463 billion spending resolution (HJ Res 20) for fiscal year 2007 that includes a $1.3 billion increase for international HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria programs. The resolution would bring the total for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to $4.5 billion. 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 To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The $4.5 billion for PEPFAR includes $3.2 billion for the State Department's Global HIV/AIDS Initiative, $712 million for USAID's Child Survival and Health Program, and $494 million for CDC and HHS global HIV/AIDS activities, according to a House Appropriations Committee summary. Of these amounts, $724 million would be allocated for the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund, with $625 million coming from the State Department and USAID, and $99 million from HHS. In addition, $248 million would be allocated to expand programs under the President's Malaria Initiative, an increase of $149 million (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/1). The Senate is expected to consider the bill as early as next week. Although the Bush administration's "drive for a rapid strengthening" of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria programs had been "caught in limbo," the budget approval by the House "suggests the deepening of political support for foreign aid programs," according to the Times. In addition, the steps taken by Congress this week on global health issues "provides a marker of how much both parties have changed" since the administration of former President Clinton because both Democrats and Republicans now must "compete to claim the mantle of leadership" on foreign aid, the Times reports. Aid to Africa under the Bush administration has increased to more than twice the level of any previous administration and more than triple that achieved during the Clinton administration, according to an analysis by the Center for Global Development. "The politics of aid in this country probably has shifted on push-button issues like HIV/AIDS," Todd Moss, a senior CGD fellow, said, adding, "It's the longer-term development that's much harder to do and build political backing for. Those are the things that will come under pressure in a Washington with a split government" (New York Times, 2/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.