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PEPFAR funding may be hurt by the war in Iraq

PEPFAR funding may be hurt by the war in Iraq

U.S. funds needed for the war in the Iraq coupled with a growing budget deficit could cut into funding for the five-year President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, some AIDS activists say. The program is authorized to spend $3 billion a year over the five-year course of the outreach plan to fight AIDS in 15 developing countries, but Congress approved only $2.4 billion for the first year of the program in 2004 and fell short of the $3 billion goal for fiscal 2005. The congressional funding was more than President Bush had requested for the program in his proposed budget. White House officials say the intention was always to increase funding for the AIDS plan, known as PEPFAR, gradually over five years as the new programs got organized, but some AIDS activists say they expect the funding to remain flat through 2006--the third year of the five-year program--to help finance the war in Iraq and to make Bush's tax cuts permanent. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said that while she has urged Bush to "live up to his pledge" to provide the full $15 billion, "so far his budgets have fallen far short."

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