Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Wednesday night that lawmakers from both parties had agreed “in principal” on a deal to move a massive international AIDS relief package.
The $50 billion program to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria abroad had been stalled in the Senate for months after clearing the House earlier this year.
Several Republican senators, led by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) had objected to the manner in which some of the AIDS funding was to be distributed in the bill.
Reid announced the breakthrough in a statement Wednesday night, however he did not offer any specifics on the compromise.
“Now that we have an agreement in principle, my strong preference would be to get this bill done this week,” said Reid. “We should be able to do this quickly and easily – and it should be done before President Bush goes to the G-8 Summit next week. That would send an important message to the world that our country’s commitment to fight HIV/AIDS has not wavered.”
Reid said he hoped his Republican colleagues would agree to pass the bill by unanimous consent, thus avoiding a protracted debate on the issue which has broad bipartisan support.
He also said he was “confident” that Republicans would agree to the agreement, although Reid did say lawmakers were still waiting on the final text of the bill.