House International Relations Committee To Debate Hyde International AIDS Bill, Package of Amendments
The House International Relations Committee today is scheduled to consider a bill (HR 1298), sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), that would provide $15 billion over five years to fight global AIDS, as well as a package of amendments that address Republican concerns with the measure, the Washington Times reports (Fagan, Washington Times, 4/2). President Bush in his State of the Union address on Jan. 28 proposed spending $15 billion over five years to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. The plan includes $10 billion in new money. Under the initiative, new funds averaging an additional $2 billion per year would be phased in gradually to supplement the $1 billion per year the government now spends on AIDS; only $1 billion total would go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Hyde's bill would allocate $3 billion a year for HIV/AIDS, with up to $1 billion in fiscal year 2004 going to the Global Fund (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/1). Many panel conservatives say that Hyde's bill does not encompass Bush's "vision" of the AIDS initiative because it does not prescribe the ABC prevention method -- abstinence, be faithful, use condoms -- and lacks a strong emphasis on abstinence over condom use, the Times reports. "It's unacceptable and I will vote against it," Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) said. Pitts and other panel conservatives want the bill to take a stronger stance on the eradication of prostitution and offer religious groups the opportunity to opt out of condom distribution programs. In addition, many conservatives want to reduce the amount of money alloted for the Global Fund in the Hyde bill, saying that there would be no way to control how the money is spent. House conservatives have worked with Hyde to draft a package of amendments designed to address their concerns, but Republican aides said that Hyde plans to offer a "different, Democrat-approved" set of amendments. Details of the amendments have not been released, and Hyde's office yesterday did not return phone calls, according to the Times. Conservatives plan to offer a number of their own amendments, but aides said that the measures were not likely to pass because they lacked the support of Reps. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) and Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.), the panel's "more liberal" Republicans, according to the Times. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, is writing an alternative global AIDS bill, which "some conservatives hope will be a better alternative," according to the Times (Washington Times, 4/2).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.