WALL STREET JOURNAL:
PRESIDENT BACKS OFF PLEDGE TO FUND GLOBAL AIDS FIGHT
The Daily Mis-Leader
By the Staff of MoveOn.org
The Wall Street Journal today reports, "President Bush plans to ask Congress for relatively small funding increases to fight AIDS and poverty in the developing world, stepping back from his highly publicized pledge to spend huge sums to help fight them." The President's decision is just the latest step in a calculated effort to slowly -- but surely -- abandon his own commitment to fully fund the global fight against AIDS. [Emphasis added.]
Just last year in his State of the Union speech, the President said "I ask the Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years...to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean. Seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many." At face value, it was an historic request, with Congress and AIDS activists ecstatic about the promise to pump $3 billion a year into combating AIDS throughout the world. U2 Singer Bono, who has been one of the leaders of the AIDS fight, "hailed" the President's speech, saying "If we can turn the president's bold long term vision into near term results we're excited," adding, "any delay in increased funding means more lives lost and an even bigger check in the future."
Unfortunately, as the LA Times reported, just five days later, the President introduced a budget in which he "only sought $2 billion for the year" for AIDS -- 33% less than he had promised. The Senate later voted to increase the President's request, and Bono visited with the President to urge him to keep his promise. Nonetheless, the White House "repeated its strong opposition to any funding beyond $2 billion" while claiming with a straight face that the President was doing all he could. When questioned about the discrepancy, White House spokesman Scott McClellan simply refused to address the issue, saying only "The President has shown unprecedented leadership in the fight against AIDS."
Read the Mis-Lead -->