PEPFAR stalled . . . again.

So close, and yet, so far.  That’s pretty much where you’re at if you’re hoping to see PEPFAR re-authorized in the near future.  According to an article from the Kaiser Network:

Efforts to pass a measure (S 2731) aimed at reauthorizing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief failed on Friday after Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) rejected a request by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to vote on the bill, CQ Today reports.

Reid had attempted to add in a substitute amendment fashioned last week (Graham-Silverman, CQ Today, 6/27). Under the agreement, more than half of PEPFAR funding would go to treatment. The agreement also would require that antiretrovirals used in PEPFAR programs be approved by FDA or another approved regulatory agency. In addition, the agreement would prevent PEPFAR funding for wealthier developing nations, such as China and Russia (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/27).

Jim DeMint and some other senators are still complaining about PEPFAR’s cost.  You’d think the number of lives hanging in the balance would outweigh $50 billion.  (Bitter imagery brought to you courtesy of Michael Gerson.)  Senate Majority Letter Harry Reid “said he would attempt to bring the measure to a floor vote after the Senate returns from its July 4 recess but was not optimistic.”

The Kaiser Network article also has summaries and links for editorials on the subject from the Chicago Sun-Times and the Wall Street Journal.

I’ve been watching PEPFAR’s tortured progress – or, rather, lack thereof – through the Senate for some weeks now.  It hasn’t been pretty.  What it has been is increasingly frustrating.  Like so much else about the AIDS pandemic and the efforts to stop its devastation, this whole thing seems both tragic and maddening.  I hope you will join me in bringing the situation before God, who cares far more about people living with HIV/AIDS than I or any of us ever can.

I’d like to close this post with a prayer by Joao Makondekwa, an African Christian:

We sincerely thank you, Father God, for your powerful gift of hope in the face of seemingly hopeless situations.  We thank you for your peace in the hearts of men and women in this part of Africa who believe you are a living God, quick to save in time of danger.  You reign above all, directing the course and destiny of the universe. *

Amen.

 

* From The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers (compiled by Dorothy M. Stewart), page 160.

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~ by h.e.g. on July 1, 2008.

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