AIDS bait-and-switch, as described by The New York Times:
Two weeks after President Bush toured Africa with promises of vast increases in spending on global AIDS, the House of Representatives was poised today to approve a measure that would bring total spending on the epidemic next year to roughly $2 billion — $1 billion short of the amount set out in a bill Mr. Bush signed in May.
Democrats sought to introduce an emergency spending measure that would have added the $1 billion, but were prevented from doing so under House procedures.
OK, so let me get this straight: President Compassionate Conservative really, really wanted $3 billion spent, but those mean old House Republicans cut his request, and, well, his hands were tied? Er, not quite:
Instead, [Democrats] offered amendments that would increase AIDS spending by $375 million, taking $75 million from foreign aid to Colombia's military and $300 million from a new foreign aid initiative, the Millennium Challenge account, which is also a high priority of the president.
But the White House has threatened to veto the entire $17.1 billion spending package for foreign assistance if the amount in the Millennium Challenge account is reduced....
So the president wanted the $3 billion, but the Republican meanies in the House cut it, and then the Dems tried to restore it in an unacceptable way, and that's why he's objecting? Well, no, it's not that, either:
The bill Mr. Bush signed, creating the new program, authorized annual spending of $3 billion on AIDS and two other diseases, tuberculosis and malaria. But in his proposed budget, Mr. Bush asked for only $2 billion....
Ah -- so the bait-and-switch is Bush's idea.
But, see, we're doing dying Africans a favor. Giving them $2 billion this year to fight disease is better than giving them $3 billion:
The White House has insisted that African nations have no capacity to absorb $3 billion in spending on AIDS next year
-- no, I'm not making that up --
...but with 29.4 million people in Africa already infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, advocates for people with AIDS insist that the money can be well spent.
No! Really? You think so?
In the Senate last week, Senator Robert C. Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat, tried to add $1.1 billion for global AIDS to a defense spending measure. But the effort failed.
Yeah, but he's just a senile old coot, right?