A bipartisan group of 112 U.S. representatives sent a letter to President Bush last week asking for increased foreign aid spending, including more money for the international AIDS initiative, CongressDaily reports. The coalition of lawmakers, led by Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.), urged Bush to boost foreign aid spending in his proposed 2005 budget, which will be unveiled in February.
White House sources have said Bush will ask for only small increases in foreign aid spending, including the international AIDS initiative and the Millennium Challenge Account. The lawmakers wrote that increasing funding for the programs would "contribute to the formation and strengthening of international coalitions, combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and help build international markets for U.S. goods and services through sensible export promotion and good governance programs."
A group of 38 senators, led by Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), plan to send a similar letter to Bush this week.