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Blunt: On PEPFAR, Majority Attempts to Spend in Five Years What CBO Says It Can't in 10

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) issued the following statement today after the House voted to authorize $50 billion for the president's global AIDS initiative - even though the president himself only requested $30 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found the program couldn't spend in 10 years what the majority believes it can in five:

"I've said on more than one occasion that the president's initiative on fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa is an important humanitarian mission - and one for which this Congress has shown an overwhelming and consistent level of support.

"That's why this Congress stood behind the president when he suggested doubling the program from $15 billion to $30 billion. Unfortunately, the legislation we voted on today barely resembles that request - with the CBO itself finding the program lacks the capacity to spend in 10 years what the majority believes it can disburse in just five.

"But even though I oppose the bill in its current form, I want to applaud the efforts of Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to fight back attempts to turn a global AIDS package into a blank check for abortionists abroad. To the extent this program is able to focus on its real mission in the future without violating core American values, it'll be the congresswoman's efforts we have to thank for it."

NOTE: A Republican amendment turned aside on the House floor would've brought the underlying bill in line with the president's request of $30 billion. This figure represents a doubling of previous public commitments to the initiative, and is consistent with CBO analysis that shows the majority's preferred level of funding cannot be disbursed in an efficient and effective manner.

SOURCE House Republican Whip Roy Blunt
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