President George W. Bush on Thursday,
World AIDS Day, called for funding increases for HIV/AIDS programs.
Bush signed the President's Emergency
Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003. The program focuses on 15
countries hit hard by the pandemic, 12 of them in Africa. Congress
increased PEPFAR's initial $15 billion budget to $48 billion in 2008.
Bush, who is currently in Tanzania on
the first stop of an African philanthropic tour, spoke via satellite
at a panel to commemorate World AIDS Day.
“I understand we're in tight budget
times,” Bush said. “I mean the wealthy nations are going through
budgetary struggles. And when you go through a budgetary struggle it
seems like to me the best thing to do is set priorities and to focus
on that which is effective.”
“There is no greater priority – and
this is something our American citizens must understand and our
government must understand – there is no greater priority than
living out the admonition: to whom much is given, much is required.
We're a blessed nation in the Untied States of America and I believe
we are required to support effective programs that save lives.”
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