Global AIDS Relief Program Poised to Reap Rare Bipartisan Support

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - Sister Sally Naidoo administers an HIV test on a young boy at the Right To Care AIDS clinic on January 27, 2012, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Right to Care non-governmental organisation has, with U.S. funding from PEPFAR, managed to revive their AIDS clinic, which provides medical treatment to more than 8,000 patients.
National Journal
Billy House
See more stories about...
Billy House
Nov. 18, 2013, 11:17 a.m.

In a year of scant bi­par­tis­an­ship on Cap­it­ol Hill, one is­sue with a his­tory of strong Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic sup­port is set to ree­m­erge this week in ac­tion to ex­tend a glob­al AIDS re­lief pro­gram.

The GOP-led House is to take up the five-year meas­ure, now known as the Pres­id­ent’s Emer­gency Plan for AIDS Re­lief  Stew­ard­ship and Over­sight Act, on its non­con­tro­ver­sial sus­pen­sion cal­en­dar this week. That House vote would fol­low Sen­ate ac­tion ex­pec­ted as early as Monday night.

Pla­cing the meas­ure on that House sus­pen­sion cal­en­dar means floor de­bate will be lim­ited, and a two-thirds ma­jor­ity sup­port will be re­quired for it to pass, re­flect­ing the ex­pect­a­tion from lead­ers that the meas­ure will face little op­pos­i­tion.

This would be the second time the pro­gram is ex­ten­ded or reau­thor­ized since it was en­acted in 2003 — when then-Pres­id­ent George W. Bush was fa­cing an over­whelm­ing HIV/AIDS epi­dem­ic that threatened to elim­in­ate a gen­er­a­tion of people. The 2008 ver­sion au­thor­ized fund­ing un­der the pro­gram for an­oth­er five years at $48 bil­lion, and it re­ceived strong bi­par­tis­an sup­port.

This year’s bill does not in­clude a spe­cif­ic au­thor­iz­a­tion num­ber, nor does it in­clude sums on fund­ing levels for spe­cif­ic pro­grams. That leaves the levels func­tion­ally the same, ac­cord­ing to con­gres­sion­al aides.

Ac­cord­ing to a memo on the bill pre­pared for law­makers, the PEP­FAR pro­gram re­mains the largest com­mit­ment by any na­tion to com­bat a single dis­ease in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Un­der the pro­gram, nearly 6 mil­lion people are now re­ceiv­ing life-sus­tain­ing anti-ret­ro­vir­al treat­ment. The memo also states that more than 11 mil­lion preg­nant wo­men re­ceived HIV test­ing and coun­sel­ing last year, while the one-mil­lionth baby born HIV-free as a res­ult of treat­ment was born this year. PEP­FAR has provided care and sup­port to nearly 15 mil­lion people, in­clud­ing more than 4.5 mil­lion orphans and vul­ner­able chil­dren, the memo states.

The new five-year ex­ten­sion is also de­scribed as ex­tend­ing im­port­ant pro­vi­sions and re­port­ing re­quire­ments to strengthen over­sight of the pro­gram, in­clud­ing:

  • Pro­tect­ing the ex­ist­ing fund­ing al­lot­ment for HIV treat­ment (set­ting it to at least 50 per­cent of total pro­gram fund­ing), and spe­cific­ally 10 per­cent for orphans and vul­ner­able chil­dren.
  • Ex­tend­ing the cur­rent 33 per­cent cap on U.S. con­tri­bu­tions to the Glob­al Fund, and pro­por­tion­al with­hold­ing re­quire­ments re­lated to coun­tries lis­ted as state spon­sors of ter­ror­ism, along with a 20 per­cent with­hold­ing re­quire­ment re­lated to Glob­al Fund man­age­ment re­forms. The 33 per­cent cap is meant to serve as an ef­fect­ive tool for lever­aging oth­er donor fund­ing.
  • Ex­tend­ing a re­port­ing re­quire­ment in­ten­ded to cap­ture per-pa­tient costs for PEP­FAR-sup­por­ted treat­ment and care. This is in­ten­ded to be an ele­ment of over­sight and a tool for mon­it­or­ing treat­ment costs.
  • Ex­tend­ing au­thor­iz­a­tion for the State De­part­ment, USAID, and Health and Hu­man Ser­vices in­spect­ors gen­er­al to de­vel­op an­nu­al joint audit plans.
  • Up­dat­ing the re­quire­ments for an­nu­al re­ports on PEP­FAR to bet­ter re­flect the pro­gram’s shift from be­ing strictly U.S.-sup­por­ted and to­ward great­er own­er­ship by part­ner coun­tries.
What We're Following See More »
STAYING RELEVANT TIL 2020?
Rubio May Run for Reelection After All
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
SOCIAL ISSUES ROIL CONGRESS AGAIN
LGBT Amendment Sinks Energy and Water Approps
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

The House voted down the otherwise uncontroversial Energy and Water appropriations bill Thursday after Democrats succeeded in attaching an amendment affirming LGBT job discrimination protections for military contractors. More than 40 Republicans supported the amendment, but when it came to vote on the bill, 130 Republicans joined all but six Democrats to sink the bill. Speaker Paul Ryan said Democrats voting against the bill after securing the amendment shows their intention was to scuttle the process. Democrats, however, blamed other so-called poison-pill amendments for their votes against the bill. Nonetheless, Ryan said he intends to continue the appropriations process.

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
SCREENING DELAYS
70,000 Have Missed American Airlines Flights This Year
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Airport screening delays have caused more than 70,000 American Airlines customers and 40,000 checked bags to miss their flights this year, an executive for the airline told a U.S. congressional subcommittee on Thursday. A shortage of staff and a surge in air travelers have created a nightmare scenario for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with airport wait times in places like Chicago stretching beyond two hours."

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
×