November 20, 2013 — The House on Tuesday passed by voice vote a bill (S 1545) that would extend the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief for another five years, through 2018, The Hill's "Floor Action" reports. President Obama is expected to sign the bill -- which the Senate approved on Monday -- as early as this week (Kasperowicz, "Floor Action," The Hill, 11/19).
PEPFAR, launched by President George W. Bush in 2003, supports antiretroviral drug therapy for roughly six million people worldwide. In total, the program is credited with providing care for almost 15 million people, including about 4.5 million orphans and vulnerable children. The legislation expired on Sept. 30.
The legislation was narrowly written to extend, rather than reauthorize, the program and avoid battles over reproductive-rights issues that erupted in the 2008 reauthorization. In another effort to avoid partisan conflict, the bill does not outline specific sums for PEPFAR programs.
The bill would require that at least 10% of funding be spent on support for orphans and other vulnerable children (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/19). In addition, it would continue to limit U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to 33% of total funding for the program (Kim/Tomkin, CQ Roll Call, 11/19).
The bill also would update requirements for PEPFAR's annual report and extend audit and reporting requirements that monitor the cost and efficacy of treatments provided through the program. In addition, it would expand reporting to include work related to care for people living with HIV/AIDS who also have tuberculosis, as well as partner countries' efforts to train and employ health care workers.
The bill also includes an amendment that would require the Global AIDS coordinator to make public the program's evaluation standards and a description of completed evaluations, including whether they met standards (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/19).