Bush in State of Union Address To Call for $30B Extension of PEPFAR
President Bush on Monday during his last State of the Union address is expected to reiterate his call for a $30 billion, five-year extension of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, USA Today reports (Wolf/Page, USA Today, 1/25). PEPFAR initially was authorized to direct $15 billion over five years for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis primarily to 15 focus countries. Bush in May 2007 called on Congress to increase this initial PEPFAR funding level to $30 billion for five years after the program's original mandate expires in September. Administration officials have 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 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/31/07). In addition, a $30 billion reauthorization would provide prevention measures to about 12 million people, according to USA Today.
"Our compassion should be manifested in helping people who suffer from disease and hunger," Bush said on Thursday during an interview. He added, "We have a strategy that's working. It is to support a strategy that has made a difference in over a million people's lives in a relatively quick period of time."
Bush on Thursday also said that during Monday's State of the Union address, he plans to reveal a "new idea" to address hunger worldwide and announce plans to expand the President's Malaria Initiative. Bush next month plans to visit five African countries -- Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Rwanda and Tanzania -- during a six-day trip to review PEPFAR programs (USA Today, 1/25).