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March 4, 2007

House Passes $463B Spending Bill That Would Allocate $1.3B Increase To Fund International HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria Programs

The House on Wednesday approved 286-140 a $463 billion spending resolution (HJ Res 20) for fiscal year 2007 that includes a $1.3 billion increase for international HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs, the Washington Post reports (Kane, Washington Post, 2/1). The resolution would bring the total for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to $4.5 billion. PEPFAR is a five-year, $15 billion program that directs funding for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria primarily to 15 focus countries and provides funding to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The $4.5 billion for PEPFAR includes $3.2 billion for the State Department's Global HIV/AIDS Initiative, $712 million for USAID's Child Survival and Health Program, and $494 million for CDC and HHS global HIV/AIDS activities, according to a House Appropriations Committee summary. Of these amounts, $724 million would be allocated for the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund, with $625 million coming from the State Department and USAID, and $99 million from HHS. In addition, $248 million would be allocated to expand programs under the President's Malaria Initiative, an increase of $149 million. The resolution also allocates an additional $75.8 million in funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides care and services to people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., to bring its funding to $1.2 billion (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/30). "With the increase ... the U.S. is much better placed to go to other countries and urge them to increase their contributions" to the Global Fund, the Global AIDS Alliance said. According to GAA, there were 4.3 million new HIV/AIDS cases worldwide last year, and outbreaks of malaria and drug-resistant TB continued (Cowan, Reuters, 1/31). "Given the incredibly difficult budget situation, the U.S. Congress made a bold decision to help those affected by AIDS, TB and malaria around the world," Natasha Bilimoria, executive director of Friends of the Global Fight, said (Friends of the Global Fight release, 1/31). "What House and Senate leadership have proposed on HIV/AIDS is nothing short of heroic," Pamela Barnes, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, said, adding, "We were facing a nightmare situation where treatment for hundreds of thousands of people was seriously threatened" (EGPAF release, 1/31). The Senate must pass the continuing resolution by Feb. 15 to prevent a "partial government shutdown," the Post reports. The White House has indicated that President Bush will sign the measure if it is approved (Washington Post, 2/1).

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