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Senate Passes Landmark AIDS, TB and Malaria Bill, Says Global AIDS Alliance
Date:7/16/2008

WASHINGTON, July 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the U.S. Senate passed a crucial bill, backed by President Bush, that reauthorizes the U.S. program on global HIV/AIDS while also authorizing much greater funding for programs to address tuberculosis and malaria.

"The bill is a tremendous achievement, and I commend Senators Biden and Lugar, who authored the bill, and Senator Reid whose fierce determination to bring the bill forward was indispensable," said Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance.

"The amount per year, about $10 billion, is less than 1 percent of this year's federal budget, and thus is a small price to pay for a program that will save millions of lives and foster good will around the world," said Zeitz.

The bill, S. 2731, was approved by the Foreign Relations Committee in March and was endorsed by both Senators Obama and McCain, but it was then stalled by several Republican legislators. Today several hostile amendments were defeated, and the bill was approved 80 to 16. The House appears ready to approve the Senate version.

"Myths and disinformation were used by Senators Kyl, Bunning, DeMint and others to try to undermine this bill, but in the end the truth won out," noted Zeitz. "This bill will expand American leadership on global health and foster hope around the world. Once fully funded, it will not only help poor countries but serve America's interests as well."

The bill lays out a five-year strategy for confronting AIDS, TB and malaria, while authorizing, though not actually providing, a total funding level of $48 billion for global health programs. The bill also lays out a policy framework on such closely related issues as gender, care for orphaned children, nutrition, and health care worker shortages.

Senator Kyl and others said the bill would triple the authorized funding for the AIDS program, known as PEPFAR, which is not accurate. He also said a level of $30 billion ov
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SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance
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