The Gap Between Bush's Words and Deeds

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Gap Between Bush's Words and Deeds

It's one thing to find that an elected official doesn't really care much about an issue that you care about. That can be disappointing. But it's outrageous to hear an elected official claim to care about an issue when, in fact, his policies show he doesn't give one rat's ass about it.

Case in point: In his speech to the NAACP last week, this is what President Bush said about fighting HIV:
... when we see the scourge of HIV/AIDS ravaging communities at home and abroad, we must not avert our eyes.

Today more than a million of our fellow Americans live with HIV, and more than half of all AIDS cases arise in the African American community. This disease is spreading fastest among African American women.

... Congress needs to reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act, and provide funding to states, so we can end the waiting lists for AIDS medications in this country.
But, based on this analysis, the budget proposal that Bush delivered to Congress last year:
* cut the Housing Opportunities for People Living with AIDS program by $13.7 million.

* cut HIV prevention activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $4 million.

* provided no increase in funds for the Minority AIDS Initiative.
In his remarks at the NAACP convention, Bush talked a lot about funding for HIV/AIDS in Africa. But, here again, there's a big gap between Bush's rhetoric and his actions.

Two years ago, the Religious News Service reported:
Shrunken AIDS funding in President Bush's 2005 budget proposal released Monday (Feb. 2) dampened the spirits of Christian groups and aid organizations, who said he is not following through on his promise to combat the disease globally.

... Maureen Shea, director of the Episcopal Church's U.S. government relations office, said her denomination was particularly concerned about Bush's funding cutback for multilateral AIDS organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, for which the president proposed $200 million, down $350 million from 2004.

"We have particular concerns about the Global Fund because once people (with HIV/AIDS) have started on treatment, you have to keep people on treatment or it won't work," Shea said.
Incredibly, Bush proposed cutting contributions to the Global Fund only 13 months after he said in the 2003 State of the Union that America must undertake a major effort to combat HIV and AIDS in Africa -- "... seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many."

Blah, blah, blah.

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