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Bush to Sign AIDS Bill Today, but Funding Still Missing
Date:7/30/2008

WASHINGTON, July 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today President Bush will sign into law a major new piece of legislation on global AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, but Congress is not providing the money to implement it for fiscal year 2009.

"We deeply appreciate the hard work of everyone involved, in the Congress and the White House, which has led to this crucial legislation, yet, in terms of funding, it appears to be more rhetoric than reality," stated Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance. "Congress should make sure the program is fully funded on day one, since without the money we cannot save more lives. Why is the Congress delaying? We cannot wait until 2010 to get these new programs moving."

"President Bush should also move to immediately implement the bill's provisions, such as by lifting immigration restrictions on people who are HIV positive," said Zeitz. "Thanks to the commitment of Senators Kerry and Smith, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and others, the bill lifts these restrictions, but it is still up to the President to implement the changes necessary."

The bill to be signed tomorrow authorizes $48 billion for global health programs, and it enjoys the backing of both Senators Obama and McCain. Bush's original proposal, for $30 billion, would have kept funding at the current level. Much of the increased funding would go to AIDS programs, with a significant portion dedicated to tuberculosis and malaria programs. But, the bill provides no actual funding on its own, since Congress provides funding on a year by year basis through the separate budget and appropriations process.

For fiscal year 2009, Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) approved a budget for international programs that was smaller that President Bush requested. Then, just two weeks ago, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who lead key appropriations subcommittees in the House and Senate, approved funding for
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SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance
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