Editorials, Opinion Piece Respond to Senate Republican Block of PEPFAR Reauthorization Legislation
Several newspapers recently responded to the decision last week by some Senate Republicans to block consideration of legislation that would reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Summaries appear below.
Las Vegas Sun: The "small" group of Republicans blocking the legislation is "spoiling the momentum by arguing" that it costs too much and includes funding for unrelated programs, a Sun editorial says. The editorial adds that by holding up the Senate vote, the "malcontent lawmakers have likely blown an opportunity" to pass the legislation before President Bush leaves for the Group of Eight industrialized nations summit, which begins July 7 in Japan. "It would have been refreshing if the holdout Republicans had ended their selfish ways so that the world could better combat" HIV/AIDS, the Sun says, concluding that it "fear[s] that the failure of Congress to approve the legislation in time for the summit because of a few holdouts will be a missed opportunity needlessly resulting in many more" AIDS-related deaths (Las Vegas Sun, 7/2).
- San Francisco Chronicle: The "small band" of Republicans blocking PEPFAR "have no problem" funding "costly favorites" such as the Iraq war or farm subsidies, but "when it comes to a global AIDS program, the brakes go on," a Chronicle editorial says. The editorial adds that there is "[n]o question" that the $50 billion over five years that would be authorized by the legislation is a "large number," but "it builds on AIDS-fighting programs and includes two new targets, tuberculosis and malaria." Bush "needs approval of this global AIDS program to press other national leaders to follow the U.S. lead," the editorial says, adding, "An important battle against AIDS still needs fighting, and this country should continue to lead the charge" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/2).
Leila Nimatallah, Baltimore Sun: Bush's "biggest achievement abroad" -- might "come undone, and millions of children will suffer the dire consequences" if Republican leaders cannot "rein in the conservative flank of their party," Nimatallah, policy director of Global Action for Children, writes in a Sun opinion piece. The block of the legislation is not only "politics at its worst, but opposing the bill will also hamstring President Bush's efforts to persuade" the G8 to provide more funding for HIV prevention and other global health initiatives, according to Nimatallah. "The time has come to put politics aside and reauthorize PEPFAR," Nimatallah writes (Nimatallah, Baltimore Sun, 7/2).