Editorials, Letter to Editor Respond to Senate Republican Block of PEPFAR Reauthorization Legislation
Several newspapers recently responded to the decision by some Senate Republicans to continue to block consideration of legislation that would reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, as well as other issues. Summaries appear below.
New York Times: The "tiny group" of Republicans that continues to block the PEPFAR reauthorization legislation "has deprived President Bush of a legislative achievement that could help him spur" other countries during this week's Group of Eight industrialized nations summit in Japan to "contribute substantially more money" to global HIV/AIDS efforts, a Times editorial says. It adds that it is "better late than never" to remove the block because it "remains important to blast through the legislative roadblock and bring this broadly supported bill to a vote on the Senate floor." The editorial concludes that if "necessary, Senate Democratic leaders should undertake the potentially time-consuming task of forcing the bill to a vote" (New York Times, 7/7).
Arizona Republic: The PEPFAR reauthorization legislation "is an important, well-crafted bill that needs to move forward," a Republic editorial says. There is a "sliver of time" for the Senate to pass the bill before the "final gavel" of the G8 summit, the editorial says, adding that its passage would make Bush's efforts to call on other countries to increase funding for global HIV/AIDS programs "a lot stronger." The cost of PEPFAR "is large, but so is the problem -- and it's one that impacts the United States both directly and indirectly," the editorial concludes (Arizona Republic, 7/3).
- Geeta Rao Gupta, Washington Post: Sam Ruteikara, co-chair of the Uganda National AIDS Prevention Committee, "correctly emphasized" the need for PEPFAR to focus on HIV prevention and behavior changes in Uganda in a recent Post opinion piece, Gupta, president of the International Center for Research on Women, writes in a Post letter to the editor. However, Ruteikara's reference to a "suspicious statistic attacking marriage" confuses HIV incidence and prevalence, "tainting his conclusions," Gupta adds. "Far worse, however, is Ruteikara's implication that marriage provides women a safe haven from HIV," Gupta writes, adding, "Power inequalities within marriage, as well as different social roles and expectations, place married women in Africa and elsewhere at risk of HIV infection" (Gupta, Washington Post, 7/5).