Today’s Congressional odds and ends

lantos.jpgLantos and Lee tout AIDS funding boost: Note the date and time, folks — House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, had something nice to say about President Bush today, as he requested a broadening of the U.S. fight against global HIV/AIDS. Lantos and Lee in 2003 were among co-authors of legislation that led to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which the president now wants to renew and expand. Lantos called Bush’s call to double the budget “music to my ears, and I will do all I can to ensure harmonious support for it.” Lee called PEPFAR “one of the few foreign policy initiatives where the President has broad bipartisan support among the Congress.” But both called for removing the requirement that a third of the program’s funds be spent solely on abstinence-only-until-marriage education. “The Institute of Medicine and the Government Accountability Office have reported that this requirement has been a hindrance to the effectiveness of prevention efforts across the board. Mandating the preaching of abstinence may not be the best use of one-third of the funds in this fight,” Lantos noted. And Lee said added investment in our global AIDS programs must be “coupled with increases in funding for other core development and humanitarian programs, including for programs to address basic education, nutrition, the health worker shortages, water and food security and other diseases like malaria and TB.”

lee3.jpg No fuzzy math for Lee: Lee is in Berkeley tonight speaking at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute’s 4th annual Critical Issues in Education conference, updating educators on K-12 legislation in Congress and in particular the debate over renewing — and perhaps, fully funding for the first time? — the “No Child Left Behind” law implemented five years ago. The conference, focusing on “Teaching Teachers Mathematics,” has gathered more than 200 prominent educators and mathematicians from across the nation to improve teachers’ training for certification and beyond.

mcnerneyportrait.jpgMcNerney’s next meet-and-greet: Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will hold his next “Congress at Your Corner” session with constituents from noon to 1 p.m. this Friday, June 1 at Vic’s All Star Kitchen, 201A Main St. in Pleasanton. Wanna know the latest about what’s happening in them marbled halls on ethics, the war, gas prices, anything at all? Bring yer questions, grab a cuppa joe with your voice in Congress — he’s all ears.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.