House Approves Bill That Would Allow for Waiver of PEPFAR’s Abstinence Spending Requirements
The House on Thursday voted 241-178 to approve the fiscal year 2008 foreign aid spending bill (HR 2764), the Washington Post reports (Williamson, Washington Post, 6/22). The bill would allow President Bush and future presidents to waive the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief's abstinence spending requirement.
By law, at least one-third of HIV prevention funds that focus countries receive through PEPFAR must be used for abstinence-until-marriage programs. Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), who helped draft the original abstinence spending requirement, said that he is confident the Bush administration will continue to promote the requirement. He added that future presidents might waive it (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/6).
The bill also includes about $5 billion in bilateral aid to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic -- an increase of about $1.2 billion from fiscal year 2007. In addition, the bill includes $550 million for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (HR 2764 summary, 6/12). The Senate tentatively plans to vote on its version of the bill next Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Havemann, Los Angeles Times, 6/22).
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Friday reported on the House bill and other legislation. The segment includes comments from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) (Rovner, "Morning Edition," NPR, 6/22). Audio of the segment is available online.