Senate and House Pass Continuing Resolution to Avoid Government Shutdown
March 22, 2013
On Thursday, March 21, the House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Continuing Resolution (CR) budget, which funds the government through September 2013. The current CR was set to expire on March 27; had Congress not passed this CR by that date, the federal government would have been forced to shut down. The CR was passed in the Senate by a 73-26 vote on Wednesday, March 21 and in the House by a 318-109 vote, and includes specific appropriations measures for departments including Defense, Veterans Affairs, Justice, Commerce, Agriculture and Homeland Security. However, the CR does not reverse or replace the across-the-board cuts of the sequester for FY 2013 that took effect March 1.
While the quick passage of the CR was hailed by Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, there is a gaping hole that could prove detrimental to people living with HIV/AIDS: the CR that was passed by both the House and Senate does not include the $35 million committed by President Obama on World AIDS Day (December 1) 2011 to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Without this critical funding, patients may be placed on waiting lists to receive life-saving HIV medications that serve as both treatment and prevention. Furthermore, $10 million for Part C of the Ryan White Program, which covers early intervention services through grants to primary care providers, is not included. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, introduced an amendment on March 12 to the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 that included funding for ADAP, but the amendment was rejected by the Senate and was not included in the final version of the CR. It should be noted that an additional $5 million which had been allocated to new Part C clinics through the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) following the World AIDS Day speech is included in the CR under BPHC funding but does require a final internal administration agreement that such funding will continue to be reserved for the Part C clinics.
The CR will be sent to President Obama to sign. AIDS United will be following up with the Administration and will encourage the appropriate authorities to transfer funds to ensure that these programs critical to people living with HIV/AIDS continue to be funded.
This article was provided by AIDS United. It is a part of the publication AIDS United Policy Update. Visit AIDS United's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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