The Obama administration is launching a six-year, $63 billion program to fight illness and disease around the world.
The new initiative was announced at the White House Tuesday afternoon by Jack Lew, an assistant secretary of state. He called it "an extraordinary step to save the lives of men, women and children."
He said the "challenge now is to take the things we've learned ... and build on it." At the same time, Lew paid a compliment to former President George W. Bush, saying that he had substantially increased U.S. assistance for world health, particulary in the area of fighting HIV-AIDS.
The administration is seeking the $63 billion from Congress as part of the federal budget that lawmakers are working on for fiscal 2010, which begins on Oct. 1.