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Consolidated Budget For The Office Of AIDS Research Threatened

August 16, 1996

Consolidated Budget For The Office Of AIDS Research Threatened
Call your Senator Now!

The FY 1997 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill passed by the House of Representatives in July once again undermined the Office of AIDS Research's (OAR) statutory authority by refusing to allocate NIH funding through a consolidated budget for all NIH AIDS Research. Representative John Porter (R-IL), Chairman of the House Labor-HHS subcommittee, based his lack of support for a consolidated budget for OAR on three grounds: 1) scientists, rather than politicians, should make allocation decisions within the NIH; 2) his approach avoids dangerous public competition between AIDS and other diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease; and 3) the 3% transfer authority granted in the House bill gives the OAR MORE real power. Under this plan, the OAR could reallocate substantial funding throughout the year between Institutes should they refuse to comply with OAR's strategic plan.

None of these arguments addresses the AIDS community's central concern: that a stable administrative mechanism for guiding the $1.5 billion NIH AIDS research budget is ESSENTIAL in order to avoid waste and to enforce the implementation of the OAR Strategic Plan and the recommendations of the Levine Committee Report. A long-term planning mechanism such as the consolidated budget for AIDS research is needed to provide the stability required to support the scientific effort required to develop powerful treatments, safe and effective vaccines, and to create a cure.

Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA), chair of the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, and Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR), chair of the full Appropriations Committee, have indicated that the Senate Labor-HHS bill will fund a consolidated budget for the OAR.

As our earlier alerts have stated, all of Labor-HHS, including NIH, HRSA and CDC, is likely to be funded under a Continuing Resolution (CR) again this year. During last year's CR negotiations, the consolidated budget -- included in the Senate Subcommittee-passed bill -- disappeared in conference negotiations. Leadership on the Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee (Senators Specter, Hatfield, Harkin and Byrd) must hear the message that a consolidated budget for the OAR must be included in either final passage of a Labor-HHS bill or in a CR.


AIDS Action

If your Senator is listed below call and tell him:
  1. that the Consolidated Budget for AIDS Research be included in the Senate Sub-Committee Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill or in the passage of any Continuing Resolution
  2. to urge Senators Specter and Hatfield to insist on the inclusion of a Consolidated Budget during conference negotiations on either a final Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill or in a Continuing Resolution.
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA)
(202) 224-4254

Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR)
(202) 224-3753

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
(202) 224-3254

Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV)
(202) 224-3954

[Paid for with contributions from AIDS Action Network Members]

For more information, contact:
Tracy Mickens-Hundley, Director of Community Outreach
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300, extension 3053
202-986-1345 (fax)
202-332-9614 (tty)

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.