Dem’s coming round on HIV/AIDS funding

Well, in what I’m sure was a direct response to criticism by blogs like this one (joke!) that the Democrats were about to underfund U.S. contributions to the fight against AIDS, Democratic leaders in Congress are starting to put more money into the budget. The Times reported on February 2nd that:

But the new Democratic leadership agreed this week to give the administration $4.5 billion this year to combat the big three global pandemics, $500 million more than the president himself had requested and over $1 billion more than if the undertakings had been required to continue at the previous year’s spending levels.

The House on Wednesday approved the global health financing as part of an omnibus budget measure. The Senate is expected to take up the bill as early as next week.

While the Democrats showed some love for the Bush Administration’s initiatives on AIDS and malaria, it was less kind to the Millennium Challenge Corporation funding request.

It approved continuing last year’s spending level of $1.75 billion for the agency, far short of the $3 billion Mr. Bush requested for this year. Some Democrats in Congress have complained that the agency has been too slow to spend the money it has and to show results.

Will this be a political issue in 2008? Will the effort by Democrats and Republicans to seize the mantle of global humanitarians continue? To the extent that the programs the Administration is funding work, I am hopeful that these trends can continue. In any case, I’m cautiously optimistic that this sustained commitment is good news.

For some other good links on this, see the Kaiser report.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.