Editorial ‘Wrongly Criticized’ Sen. Coburn’s ‘Due Diligence’ in Reauthorizing PEPFAR, Letter to Editor Says
A recent Washington Post editorial "wrongly criticized" Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and "his colleagues for conducting due diligence" regarding legislation to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee's Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, writes in a Post letter to the editor (Gregg, Washington Post, 6/5).
The Post editorial said that although PEPFAR "risks mutating into all-purpose development aid or taking on goals" that are "not only culturally sensitive but hard to measure in terms of progress" as it grows, the legislation "expands and modernizes America's signature global health initiative" and "could add to PEPFAR's proud record." The editorial added that Coburn and "six other Republicans" who have "exercised their prerogative to keep [the bill] off the Senate floor" should "get out of the way" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/2).
According to Gregg, any "dramatic increase in HIV/AIDS spending would be offset by a funding decrease for other international programs that are important to America's security interests." He adds that the editorial "regrettably stopped short of suggesting that the State Department negotiate sustainability strategies and cost-sharing agreements" with PEPFAR focus countries to "better define America's role in the global fight against" HIV/AIDS. Gregg writes that if the Post "knows the costs of PEPFAR over the life of the program or its impact on other foreign aid accounts, it should share that information," concluding, "Until then, the Senate is doing its job in considering all consequences of a $50 billion reauthorization of PEPFAR" (Washington Post, 6/5).