President Bush Creates HIV/AIDS Coordinator at Domestic Policy Council
Reiterates Support for Doubling of NIH Budget
(WASHINGTON, DC) – President George W. Bush will significantly upgrade the White House fight against HIV/AIDS over his predecessor by creating a new AIDS coordinator at the Domestic Policy Council, the senior policy body at the White House. The coordinator will work with the White House Office of National AIDS Policy to advance HIV/AIDS policy in the Bush Administration. The White House also reiterated its support for a Congressional plan to double the budget for the National Institutes of Health, where federal HIV/AIDS research is concentrated, by 2003.
"This is a major step forward, and we applaud President Bush for taking the fight against AIDS to a significantly higher level at the White House than the previous administration," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "It is another clear example of President Bush's leadership and firm commitment to fight this disease and keep the spotlight on an epidemic that continues to threaten our country. We look forward to continuing our important work with the Bush Administration, and with the Republican Congress who along with state and local governments, industry leaders and community advocates have advanced sound HIV/AIDS policies which have cut the national AIDS death rate by more than two-thirds in the United States."
From 1995 to 2000, the Republican Congress increased funding for HIV/AIDS research, care and treatment programs by hundreds of millions of dollars over budgets submitted by the Clinton Administration. The White House Office of National AIDS Policy was created in 1994, but no AIDS policy coordinator was elevated to senior status within the White House under the Clinton Administration.
In addition to adding the AIDS policy coordinator to the Domestic Policy Council, President Bush also raised the issue of the AIDS pandemic in Africa during his White House meeting last week with leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said on February 4 on ABC's "This Week" that "AIDS is a national security problem. It is an economic problem. It is a devastating problem especially in Africa, in sub-Saharan Africa... It is destroying families." Secretary Powell added that he would "do everything I can" to gain support for fighting global AIDS.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson addressed AIDS on his first day on the job when he told a staff assembly at HHS that "the best thing I can and this department can do is find a cure for HIV."