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Senate Approves Bill Assisting Orphans and Vulnerable Children

On October 24, the Senate approved, by unanimous consent, a bill (H.R. 1409) that would provide assistance for orphans and other vulnerable children in developing countries. The House approved the measure on October 18 (see The Source, 10/21/05). It will now go to the White House to be signed into law by President Bush.

Explaining that H.R. 1409 “is in no way intended to undercut the authority” of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) said that the bill “provides for an advisory position to ensure that the best approaches to addressing the needs of this population are employed in our foreign HIV/AIDS programs. I would expect that the position created by this new legislation would work within the process developed by the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator to ensure that planning and implementation of any orphans and vulnerable children programs relating to international HIV/AIDS are consistent with the goals of the emergency plan. In fact, it is possible that this position may indeed be within the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, at the discretion of the Secretary of State, because of the close relationship of HIV/AIDS and its effect on orphans and vulnerable children.” He added, “The AIDS orphan crisis in sub-Saharan Africa has implications for political stability, development, and human welfare that extend far beyond the region, affecting governments and people worldwide. Every 14 seconds another child is orphaned by AIDS. Turning the tide on this crisis will require a coordinated, comprehensive, and swift response.”

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