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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
WITH LIVE BLOGGING
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
1 days ago
STAFF PICKS

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Source:
SOUND LEVEL AFFECTED
Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
1 days ago
THE LATEST

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Source:
TRUMP VS. CHEFS
Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Source:
A CANDIDATE TO BE ‘PROUD’ OF
Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
1 days ago
THE LATEST

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

NEVER TRUMP
USA Today Weighs in on Presidential Race for First Time Ever
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."

Source:
×