WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement regarding House Republicans’ failure today to fund HIV/AIDS programs at levels previously supported by Republicans and authorized by law:
“Eighteen months ago, President Bush committed to $15 billion in foreign assistance spending over five years to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, and then an overwhelming bipartisan Majority of the House supported legislation authorizing such funding. But the funding bill being considered today, the FY05 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, unfortunately does not fulfill that promise because the Republican budget does not make it possible.
“This is a failure in leadership that ultimately translates into additional infections and additional lives lost. I believe the President was correct in January 2003 to call for an aggressive approach to combat the AIDS pandemic. And that call to action carries equal force today.
“I also am greatly disappointed that the Republican Majority refused to even allow my colleague, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), to offer an amendment to the Foreign Operations Bill to fund the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at the level necessary to assure it has the resources needed to meet its obligations.
“In addition to these concerns about adequate funding, I share the concerns expressed by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) that, contrary to the Administration’s pronouncements, the Food and Drug Administration is not expediting approval for generic drugs for HIV treatment. The fact is, if we get the needed expedited FDA approval, we can make our HIV/AIDS resources go farther and get much-needed treatment to more people more quickly. Therefore, I urge the Bush Administration to adopt a plan for expedited FDA approval of safe and effective generic drugs for HIV.”