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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2004

Mr. SANTORUM. Maybe not until that time, but no longer than that time. I will certainly stop whenever we are ready to move forward with any pending business.

Madam President, a couple months ago we had a very good debate, late at night on the floor of the Senate, on the issue of AIDS in Africa. We made a commitment in that authorization bill to follow through with the President's plan, his announcement earlier this year to put forward $15 billion over the next 5 years to meet this scourge that is ravaging so many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the scourge of AIDS.

The President had the moral courage and provided leadership to the world prior to the G-8 summit to come forth with a big commitment of American dollars, of $15 billion over the next 5 years, to combat AIDS, in terms of education, prevention, treatment, transmission—all of the areas that are so important and were, frankly, being neglected by the world community.

America had done a reasonable job in providing some funds—roughly $1 billion a year—toward this problem. The
President stepped up and said: No, that is not sufficient. We need to do $15 billion over the next 5 years. The President made a budget request that put us on the road to that. It was not $3 billion a year for 5 years, but it was an aggressive increase in the amount of funding the United States would provide.

Subsequent to his budget request, we passed an authorization bill which said the following: that this country would come up with $10 billion in bilateral aid, through our agencies of the Federal Government. We would be contributing money either directly to other countries or to nonprofit, sometimes faith-based, organizations for prevention, education, treatment, and other means of dealing with this problem.

Unfortunately, in this bill, and in the foreign operations appropriations bill, the combined amount of money for the accounts for the President's AIDS initiative comes not to $3 billion but to a little over $2 billion, $2.050 billion.

Now having said that, this is a tight budget year. And it is a significant increase over the amount of money that was provided for last year, which was an increase in last year's appropriations. So I do not want to cast any aspersions on any of the appropriators for the work they have done. They have provided a significant amount of increase appropriate with the President's—close to, not exactly but close to what the President originally suggested prior to his big AIDS initiative.

I would suggest that what we need to do in the Senate is, to the best of our ability, meet the expectations we set with respect to the passage of the authorization bill a couple months ago—the expectations of the world community, which in the G-8 summit responded generously with contributions they were told would be matched by Federal dollars to the tune of for every $2 of international contribution to the Global Fund there would be a $1 contribution from the U.S. Government for up to 1 billion of U.S. dollars going into the Global Fund.

To date, we have received roughly $700 million in commitments from the international community, which means that to fund our match in this bill we would need roughly $350 million. So for $700 million of international commitment, $350 million—$1 for every $2 pledged—would be necessary in either this bill or the foreign operations appropriations bill.

I am happy to say in the two bills combined, there is $400 million for the global fund earmarked for matching, and that is in anticipation of some additional dollars being pledged by some other countries. There are a couple of other very significant countries yet that have not pledged, and I think with great foresight the members of the Appropriations Committee put forward roughly $400 million to match the anticipated contributions from the rest of the world.

So on that score, I would make the argument that the authorization levels we had committed have been fulfilled. Some have suggested—in fact, others who have offered an amendment on this subject suggested—we need to appropriate $3 billion to meet our commitment of $3 billion a year for 5 years. The commitment was $2 billion a year plus whatever was necessary to match up to $1 billion.

It seems fairly obvious the match necessary is only going to be no more than $400 million. So I would argue the $400 million that is in these bills is sufficient to meet the commitment this country made, this Senate made, and this President made in matching dollars from the international community, which leaves us with the bilateral commitment.

The bilateral commitment was $2 billion in the authorization bill. The President has said from the start that he was not going to start out at $2 billion. He was going to start out at a lesser number and ramp up as capacity was going to grow. I respect that. I know the President is trying to stay within a very tight budget with respect to both foreign and domestic programs, other than what would be considered war-related expenditures. He came forward with a proposal for about $1.6 billion.

The two bills dealing with AIDS funding come up to the level of $1.65 billion. So the combined amount, the 400 and 1.65 is $2.50 billion, which is short of the authorization level by $350 million.

That $350 million would allow us to fully fund our $2 billion commitment under the authorization. Again, I understand that the House level is lower than that. I think it is important for us in the Senate to come forth with a number that is closer to what the expectation was when we put forward this authorizing legislation a couple months ago.

I am going to be offering an amendment a little later—because I told Senator McCain that I would not be conducting any formal business, that I would just be talking about my amendment—to transfer $350 million to provide treatment and prevention programs to combat global HIV/AIDS. I underscore this: I am trying to do this so we can win this with 50 votes, in case of so many Members missing, maybe 46 or 47 votes. I would like to see this pass. I would like to see us make that commitment. Two point four billion dollars does meet the commitment that this Congress was put on the record for a couple months ago.

This is a rather big bill, almost a half-trillion-dollar piece of legislation before us. What I am requesting my colleagues to do is to support an across-the-board reduction of .0741, seven hundred forty-one thousandths of a percent reduction in all other funding so we could meet our commitment to the millions of people suffering in Africa and the Caribbean from this scourge of AIDS. I know there are a lot of people in the Chamber who don't like across-the-board cuts, thinking they are a gimmick. I assure you, those agencies that have experienced across-the-board cuts do not believe they are a gimmick. They are real. They reduce the amount of money in their appropriated account, and they have to deal with the consequences.

There are lots of programs that have received substantial increases in funding that surely a seven-hundredths-of-a-percent reduction is not going to have any kind of dramatic impact on them. But I assure you, a $350 million commitment to providing treatment and prevention—one of the programs that is underfunded in this legislation that Senator DeWine has an amendment on is mother-to-child transmission. The money provided in this bill is actually lower than what the President requested.

We are doing a lot for people in America. I know there is a lot of need in America. But I think when you compare the need in America to the abject poverty and horrific health conditions in this area of the world, I cannot imagine that any one of these organizations that are providing help to those who are struggling here in this country, through health problems or whether it is improving the quality of education, that they wouldn't be willing to give seven-hundredths of a percent of their dollars up to save hundreds of thousands of lives across Africa.

That is what we are asking. I know it is not a popular thing to do. It is probably easier to say we will just borrow the money or we will advance fund or we will forward fund or backward fund or sideways fund, do some other gimmick to get around the budget rules so we don't have to count. It is important to put your money where your mouth is.

I don't think asking for a seven-hundredths of 1 percent across-the-board reduction to provide the money for those in the most need of the brother and sisters that we have in this world is too much to ask. I ask my colleagues on this side of the aisle, those of you who voted for the President's plan on HIV/AIDS, those of you who have just come back from Africa—I know there are many Members who were in Africa over the break who saw firsthand the tremendous human suffering that is going on there as a result of this pandemic. Seven-hundredths of a percent to provide the much needed medicine to treat those mothers suffering from HIV/AIDS, to prevent the next orphan from occurring in Africa, to prevent mother-to-child transmissions so we don't have children born who will be orphans if the mothers don't get treatment and then they themselves will contract AIDS—we can do something that is real, tangible, that saves lives and improves the quality of the life of the people and gives, more importantly, some hope to those who have no hope. To a world that has in many respects turned their backs to this problem, we will show here in the U.S. Senate that we are willing to give up a little bit, a little bit across the board from programs that may get us votes back home, seven-hundredths of a percent to provide for those who have no voice in the Senate.

I know at 5:20 we were hoping to try to get some votes. We are reaching that time, so I yield the floor.

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