Bush To Request $30B, Five-Year Extension of PEPFAR Following Original Mandate’s Expiration in 2008, Washington Post Reports
President Bush on Wednesday during a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House is expected to call on Congress to double current funding levels for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to $30 billion during the first five years after he leaves office, according to senior administration officials, the Washington Post reports (Fletcher, Washington Post, 5/30). PEPFAR directs an authorized $15 billion over five years for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis primarily to 15 focus countries and provides funding to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/2). PEPFAR's original mandate is scheduled to expire in September 2008, and Bush's request would extend the program for an additional five years.
Administration officials said reauthorization of the program at $30 billion would increase the number of people receiving access to antiretroviral drugs through PEPFAR from 1.4 million to 2.5 million. Bush's announcement will come one week before leaders from the Group of Eight industrialized nations are scheduled to meet in Heiligendamm, Germany, for their 2007 summit.
According to the Post, some HIV/AIDS advocates applauded Bush's request. "We think a doubling is definitely in order," Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, said, adding, "I would call it bold action. Is it enough? No. Do we have to have better policies? Yes. But PEPFAR is still a breakthrough and has had a significant impact." Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that Bush's planned announcement is "music to [his] ears" but added that much more needs to be done (Washington Post, 5/30).