Senate Passes Foreign Aid Bill That Increases Funds To Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB Worldwide
The Senate on Thursday voted 81-12 to approve the fiscal year 2008 foreign aid spending bill (HR 2764) that would increase funds to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide, the AP/International Herald Tribune reports. The $34 billion measure would increase President Bush's $4.2 billion request for funds to fight HIV/AIDS globally by $940 million (Taylor, AP/International Herald Tribune, 9/6). The measure would increase the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to $590 million (HR 2764 text, 9/7). 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 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/22).
The spending bill also would allocate $1.2 billion for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a program meant to encourage economic and political reforms in developing countries. Bush requested $3 billion for MCC, according to the AP/Herald Tribune (AP/International Herald Tribune, 9/6). "A reduction of this magnitude is unacceptable and would severely undermine MCC's efforts to reduce poverty in countries that practice good governance, particularly in Africa, and make it more difficult for the United States to meet its commitment to double aid to Africa by 2010," the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement (Pulizzi, Dow Jones/Nasdaq, 9/6). Similar legislation passed the House in June, and the Senate bill must be reconciled with the House-approved measure (AP/International Herald Tribune, 9/6).