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President Obama Reelected! No Post-Election Honeymoon Expected

November 9, 2012

Ronald Johnson

At the end of what seemed to be an endless campaign, President Obama and Vice President Biden were elected to a second term Tuesday night. The President won with 332 Electoral College votes to Mitt Romney's 206 (including unofficial votes from Florida). The President's share of the popular vote stands at 50.4%.

Nearly all HIV/AIDS organizations are non-partisan and thus did not endorse either candidate in the elections. At the same time many HIV/AIDS organizations including AIDS United had very serious policy concerns and there was some relief throughout the HIV community that the election results signaled that current policies would continue in most ways. The Obama Administration's record of accomplishments in addressing the domestic HIV epidemic and overall health care were in clear contrast to Romney's silence and relatively short state record on HIV/AIDS. Romney's oft repeated pledge to repeal "Obamacare." The Medicaid and Medicare proposals of his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), were also a significant source of concern. Finally, it has to be said that the media was not helpful -- that the still raging HIV epidemic here in the U.S. was not mentioned during the debates and the campaign was extremely disturbing.

The President's prompt return to Washington, D.C. with his family Wednesday evening was a hoped-for sign that with the election behind him, he is back to work. A lame duck session of Congress that will begin next week must act to avoid additional deep spending cuts to nearly all domestic programs that are scheduled to kick in on Jan. 2, 2013. The President will need to be engaged actively in putting forth and fighting for a plan to replace the automatic spending cuts, "sequestration," with a balanced approach to reducing the federal deficit that preserves essential programs of health care and the safety net for low-income and other vulnerable populations. The election results have made the Affordable Care Act (ACA) much safer from repeal, however full implementation of health care reform needs to move forward and the President still will need to oppose efforts to defund or otherwise weaken the ACA. Vigorous implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is another important agenda item for the reelected President and his Administration.

AIDS United heartily congratulates President Obama and Vice President Biden on being elected for a second term. We look forward to continuing a sound partnership with the President and the Administration to bring an end to the HIV epidemic here in the U.S. and around the world. We will advocate in the lame duck session and with the new, 113th Congress for federal policies and funding levels that keep ending the epidemic a reality. And as always, we will keep you informed and fully engaged.

Ronald Johnson is vice president of policy and advocacy at AIDS United.

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This article was provided by AIDS United. Visit AIDS United's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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