House and Senate Recess Through September 3
Action Needed On: Appropriations and Prevention
August 5, 1996
House and Senate on RecessAfter months of gridlock, Congress took frenzied action on a number of bills before adjourning August 2, for a month long recess. Unfortunately, FY 97 appropriations bills for VA/HUD and Labor/HHS programs were not completed. We anticipate a hectic scramble to complete work on these bills when congress returns after Labor Day for the final weeks of the 104th Congress. We urge you to take action now - during this important window of opportunity of the next few weeks to affect FY 97 funding levels for AIDS programs. If you have not yet scheduled meetings with Senators and House Members, call to make your appointment now. If you cannot meet face to face with your member, ask for a list of scheduled appearances at town meetings or community forums and attend those events.
Senate VA/HUD Appropriations Bill Fails to Get to the FloorThe Senate is expected to consider the FY 97 VA/HUD Appropriations bill the first or second week in September. HOPWA is flat-funded at $171 million for FY 97 in both the House and Senate bills. As reported in the alert of July 24, the Senate bill is worse than the House bill because the HUD portion--which includes HOPWA--was funded at $202 million less than what the House bill provided. (Please refer to July 24 Action Alert)
While the Administration has amended its FY 97 request for HOPWA and is asking for an additional $25 million, and there appears to be a willingness by Congress to increase FY 97 funding for HOPWA, we will only get an increase if the Administration and enough Representatives and Senators really push during conference negotiations on the FY 97 VA/HUD Appropriations bill. It is critical that you keep up your calls to your Senators, Representatives, and the Administration and demand that increasing FY 97 funding for HOPWA be made a top priority in conference negotiations.
AIDS ActionCall your Senators (202-224-3121). Urge them to contact the Senate Appropriations Committee leadership (Mark Hatfield (R-OR), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Kit Bond (R-MO), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and demand that FY 97 funding for HOPWA be increased. HOPWA must be funded at the Administration's amended request of $196 million -- a $25 million increase over FY 96. E-mail addresses for your Senators can be found posted in HandsNet at Resources/Congressional Contacts.
Call your Representatives (202-225-3121). Urge them to contact the House Appropriations Committee leadership (Bob Livingston (R-LA), David Obey (D-WI), Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Louis Stokes (D-OH) and demand that FY 97 funding for HOPWA be increased by $25 million over FY 96, to the Administration's amended FY 97 request level of $196 million for FY 97. E-mail addresses for your Representatives can be found posted in HandsNet at Resources/Congressional Contacts.
Call the Administration. Demand that the President make funding for HOPWA at $196 million a top priority in conference negotiations with the House and Senate and a veto issue. Call: President Clinton 202/456-1111; Jack Lew, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget 202/395-4840; Patricia Fleming, National AIDS Policy Director, 202/632-1090. You can reach the White House by e-mail at email@example.com
Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations PostponedWith the Senate failing to complete a subcommittee mark-up of the Labor/HHS bill before leaving for recess, it grows less and less likely that FY 97 funding levels for AIDS prevention, CARE and research programs will be decided through the normal process -- passing a Senate bill, going to conference committee with the House to work out differences, and completing a final bill -- before the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
Instead, it seems more likely that the House, Senate and the Administration will have to negotiate a year-long continuing resolution for FY 97 Labor/HHS appropriations (it is unlikely that Congress will repeat the fiasco of last year's multiple continuing resolutions). However, the Senate Appropriations Committee is likely to at least draft a bill and set its funding levels in preparation for negotiations.
Therefore, it is critical to push Senators to provide the highest possible FY 97 funding levels for AIDS programs, and include the consolidated AIDS research appropriation, in that bill. We are especially worried that the Senate will not fund the President's supplemental request for ADAP, let alone provide an increase of $190 million to truly meet the need for drugs or increases for other CARE Act programs. We are also worried that the Senate will not provide any increases for prevention.
AIDS ActionCall your Senators (202-224-3121), ask to meet with them during the recess and ask them to speak to Senators Specter (R-PA), Hatfield (R-OR) and Harkin (D-IA) and tell them that the Senate must act on a Labor/HHS Appropriations bill, do better for AIDS programs and respond to the ADAP crisis by providing the following:
Rep. Coburn Introduces the HIV Prevention Act of 1996Representative Tom Coburn (R-OK) introduced his bill (HR 3937) -- The HIV Prevention Act of 1996 -- on August 1. AIDS Action strongly opposes this bill. The bill not only fails to support effective, community-based strategies that will prevent more Americans from becoming infected with HIV, but in fact contains numerous provisions that would undermine these efforts. HR 3937 includes provisions that would allow medical professionals to test patients for HIV without discussing it with patients or getting patients' consent; require states to report to the federal government the names of all people testing positive for HIV; and force states to track down every person that may have been exposed to HIV by a current or past partner and notify them that they may be infected with HIV.
The bill has been co-sponsored by the following members: Molinari (R-NY), DeLay (R-TX), Fowler (R-FL), Weldon (R-PA), Norwood (R-GA), Hutchinson (R-AR), Largent (R-OK), Souder (R-IN), Stockman (R-TX), Dornan (R-CA), and Hostettler (R-IN). A detailed analysis of the bill and a sample letter will be included in the August 12 mailing. Chances of this bill moving forward before Congress adjourns in October are slim. However, once you receive the analysis and sample letter, we strongly urge you to write your Representative in opposition to the bill.
AIDS ActionWrite your Representative and urge them to oppose the HIV Prevention Act of 1996, HR 3937. E-mail addresses for your Representatives and Senators can be found posted in HandsNet at Resources/Congressional Contacts.
FYI - AIDS Action will be mailing important information to you this week and next. Mailing (1) includes Appropriations details and updated Voting Records, as well as Actions you can take to secure increased funding for FY 97. Mailing (2) will include updates on Non-Appropriations Bills passed or pending. This second mailing will include analysis of the Welfare and Insurance Reform bills that passed last week and an update on the FDA reform and HIV prevention bills.
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.