Although a USD15-billion anti-AIDS program is U.S. President George W. Bush’s most popular throughout his troubled presidency, it is now at the very center of a heated political quibbling in Congress. Bush is looking at doubling the budget for the program, while House Democrats are rallying for triple the budget’s original amount. The Democrats have also sought budget cuts for one of the program’s components that places a premium on sexual abstinence, a move that has enraged conservative groups. According to Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs at the conservative Family Research council, Bush’s AIDS program “is something that could very much be his legacy internationally,” and that efforts by the Democrats to change some components of the program will only give rise to sex trafficking and encourage abortion among women. But Senator Dianne Feinstein of the House Democrats insist that the restrictive funding requirements “have placed politics above science,” and that “the administration’s abstinence-before-marriage earmark shortchanges the prevention programs that are most effective,” later referring to the findings of a Government Accountability Office report.
Source: Fight Looms Over Global AIDS Program (AP)