Remember the $15 billion that Bush promised to fight AIDS in Africa? Don’t get so attached to it. From Body and Soul:
The Senate bill promises to spend $3 billion this year. But it doesn’t actually provide any money, it just gives legislative authority to spend the money. The actual funding, of course, is decided in the appropriations process. There’s a little oversight in Bush’s budget plan for 2004, though. It only includes a little over half that amount — $1.7 billion. In order to spend the full $3 billion, Congress would have to make cuts in other programs.
It gets worse. The House is also considering cutting $2 billion out of Bush’s proposed budget for international programs. If they do so, even the $1.7 billion that Bush proposed would probably have to be scaled back.
A provision inserted by conservatives in the House requires that a third of the money spent on prevention go to programs that promote abstinence until marriage. Another enables groups to participate without agreeing to distribute condoms or use any other AIDS-fighting strategy they object to. Opponents argued the restrictions would impede prevention efforts. What’s more, it will peel off more of the money for useless programs that aren’t much more than proselytizing. Denying people health care in the name of religion — this administration is turning it into a well-established tradition.
Also – I couldn’t resist this one:
American troops spray painted patriotic slogans on archaeological treasures. I wonder if that brand of triumphant Americanism will make it into the Republican campaign ads next year.
Go read Body and Soul. I’m enthralled.