February 8, 2005
Millennium Challenge Corporation
Bush's budget proposal also includes $3 billion for the MCC, which was created to administer funds for the Millennium Challenge Account, a program meant to encourage economic and political reforms in developing countries. Although the proposed $3 billion is an increase of $1.5 billion over MCC's FY 2005 funding, the amount is less than the $5 billion Bush had planned for FY 2006 when he created MCA in 2002, the State Department's Washington File reports. Because eligible countries have "taken longer than expected" to develop funding proposals, the administration now expects to earmark $5 billion annually beginning in FY 2007, according to the Washington File (Washington File, 2/7). Currently, 17 countries -- Armenia, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Georgia, Ghana, Honduras, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu -- are eligible to apply for MCC funding (Reuters, 2/7).
Bush's funding request for MCC likely will "meet the same resistance" in Congress as his previous two funding proposals, which lawmakers said "cannot effectively allocate so much money in a single year," according to CQ Healthbeat. Achieving Bush's original funding goal for MCA also seems "unlikely," even if Congress meets his funding request for FY 2006, CQ Healthbeat reports (CQ Healthbeat, 2/7). Bush's budget proposal also "came under fire" from some HIV/AIDS advocacy groups that said any increases "masked" a funding decrease for "working projects in the poorest countries," the Financial Times reports. Jamie Drummond, executive director of the debt, trade and AIDS advocacy group DATA, said that Bush has "broken all the promises" he made when he created MCC because not only is its budget less then the $5 billion annually "originally promised," but no funding has been disbursed and it seems that the agency has "taken funds from other aid programs," the Times reports. "They need to light a fire under the MCC," Drummond said (Dinmore, Financial Times, 2/8).
In his State of the Union address last week, Bush outlined an agenda aimed at U.S. inner cities, including a pledge to fight the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African-American community. Bush also asked Congress to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act "to encourage prevention and provide care and treatment" to people living with the disease. "And as we update this important law, we must focus our efforts on fellow citizens with the highest rates of new cases: African-American men and women," Bush said (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/3). However, Bush's budget proposal includes cuts for some domestic HIV/AIDS programs, including a $14 million decrease for the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS Program and a $4 million reduction for CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, according to the San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/8). Bush's budget proposal also includes reductions in Medicaid of about $45 billion over the next decade. According to the AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families, Medicaid provides more than $5.6 billion in health care services to people living with HIV/AIDS annually (AIDS Alliance release, 2/7). The proposed FY 2006 budget requests nearly $2.1 billion for Ryan White funding, which represents flat funding except for a $10 million increase for AIDS Drugs Assistance Programs nationwide, according to the AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA release, 2/7). ADAPs are federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/4).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.