The U.S. Senate will begin voting tomorrow (July 15th) on the Global AIDS Bill, and we need your immediate help to ensure its passage, which is in danger!
This Global AIDS bill is bi-partisan legislation that re-authorizes the AIDS bill President Bush initiated in 2003. That five-year plan expires at the end of 2008. This proposed bill authorizes $50 billion over the next 5 years to address global AIDS.
Opponents of the bill will likely raise a Budget Point of Order that, if adopted, will kill the entire AIDS Bill. Opponents are using this tactic to challenge a provision in the proposed bill calling for repeal of a ban that prohibits any person with AIDS to enter the United States or to obtain legal permanent residency in the U.S. Opponents state that a repeal of this sort will cost the U.S. millions of dollars that were not included in the President's budget.
The General Board of Church & Society supports repeal of the ban because funding to offset any additional costs is built into the bill. We believe that the current law is outdated, no longer serves any important public health interest, and undermines U.S. global leadership in the fight against AIDS.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has examined the proposed Global AIDS bill, and based on its calculations, believes that lifting the statutory ban on HIV-positive immigrants would result in $83 million over the next ten years in direct domestic costs to the U.S. To cover these expected costs, the bill requires the U.S. State Department to raise the cost of applying for a visitor’s visa by $1 for years 2010-2012 and by $2 for years 2013-2018. Using very conservative averages of recent visa applications of some 8 million per year, such a fee structure will easily raise more than $100 million. This will provide more than sufficient funding to cover these expected costs.
This Point of Order needs to be waived by 60 votes in the affirmative. We need you to call your U.S. Senators and ask them to vote to "waive the Budget Point of Order." Call 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senators' offices.
Please, contact your Senators and urge them to vote for a waiver of the Budgetary Point of Order!