President Bush, Congress must act now on AIDS crisis

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2003

The connection between congressional spending authorizations and appropriations has always been fluid roughly the difference between lofty promises and a certified check. But rarely has there been such a gap between promise and reality as there is in the U.S. role in fighting AIDS in the developing world.

In January, Bush asked Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years, including nearly $10 billion in new money, ''to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean.''

... ''The new money is above and beyond aid requests in the current budget I submitted to Congress,'' Bush declared. ''I carry this commitment in my soul.''

Those daring foreign-policy commitments now are melting away under the heat of congressional budget wheeling and dealing and a lack of White House follow-up. ...

Bush is preparing to go on a tour of Africa next week. If he wants to arrive armed with more than half-empty promises, he must press Congress to deliver on the funds it authorized in the U.S. Leadership against AIDS Act and the Millennium Challenge Account, and make the necessary appointments to administer those funds. The president laid out some courageous foreign policy initiatives. Now is the time for him and the Congress to deliver.

Chicago Tribune

(July 5)

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