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Appropriations Leadership Negotiating FY 1996 Funding For Future of OAR, HOPWA, Ryan White, And AETCs

February 8, 1996

As previously reported by AIDS Action, the Ryan White CARE Act, the AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETCs), and the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) programs are currently funded by a temporary Continuing Resolution (CR) which is set to expire March 15, 1996. In preparation for that date, Appropriations Committee Chairs in both the House and Senate are meeting to develop a compromise for funding of programs for the remainder of FY 1996, and to determine the future status of the Office of AIDS Research (OAR).

The appropriators plan to resolve the funding issues within two weeks. Therefore, it is critical that you contact your representatives and senators and urge them to pressure the leaders of the Appropriations Committees to fully fund AIDS programs for the rest of the fiscal year and maintain the OAR.

What We Need Now From Congress For AIDS Programs:

1. Office of AIDS Research At NIH -- See earlier alerts on NIH and threats to OAR.

  • In the hurry to draft and pass the CR which provided year-long funding for NIH, a mistake was made that in effect ended the AIDS lines for research at each institute and ended the OAR's authority to control the budget for AIDS research at NIH!
  • Without budget authority, the OAR will not be able to implement its strategic plan nor will it have the authority to save money that is now being labeled "AIDS research" that in fact has little or nothing to do with AIDS research.

    Note: Late word from the Senate is that although Senators Specter and Hatfield continue to support the OAR and its Consolidated Budget, the lack of aggressive support by the Administration and a complete lack of vocal support by other Senators will make it difficult to solve this problem.

2. Ryan White Care Act - currently funded through March 15 at the FY 1995 funding level.

  • Short term CRs and funding uncertainty is threatening delays and shutdown in life saving medical services;
  • Seven new Title I cities have received no funding for this fiscal year;
  • Title II funds for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program will run out by April 1;
  • Critical grant funding for low-income people with AIDS; and women and children would be threatened if Title IIIb and Title IV do not receive full fiscal year funding soon.

3. AIDS Education & Training Centers - currently funded until March 15 at 75% of the FY 1995 funding level. (AETCs were eliminated by the House but partially restored -- $8 million -- in the Senate.)

  • AETCs are still needed to ensure that health care providers are equipped with the knowledge of appropriate standards of care to provide compassionate care to people living with HIV/AIDS in their communities.
  • AETCs are an integral component of an effective response to the AIDS epidemic and have been included as part of the Ryan White CARE Act in both House and Senate reauthorization proposals.

The following AIDS Action require calls to the same Senators and Representatives for Labor/HHS appropriations, as well as your own Senators and Representatives. Please make the best use of your call by including all HIV/AIDS issues when you call.

AIDS Action: Call Your Congressional Members On The OAR.

  • Call Senators Specter (R-PA) and Hatfield (R-OR) and thank them for their support for the OAR and its Consolidated Budget.
  • Call your senators, urging their support of the OAR and its Consolidated Budget; and ask them to call Senators Specter (R-PA) and Hatfield (R-OR) immediately to express their support for the OAR and the Consolidated Budget.
  • Call the White House at 202-456-1414 and tell President Clinton that he must make the OAR and its Consolidated Budget, Ryan White, and the AETCs his bottom line priorities in any negotiations on Labor/HHS appropriations or a year-long CR for FY 96.

On Ryan White and the AETCs:

  • Call your representatives and senators and tell them to urge Rep. Porter (R-IL) and Sen. Specter (R-PA) to fund the Ryan White CARE Act through September 30, 1996 at a level of $656.5 million, which includes the $23.5 million increase contained in the Senate Labor/HHS appropriations bill, and tell them to urge Rep. Porter (R-IL) and Sen. Specter (R-PA) to fund the AETCs at the highest possible funding level. The $8 million provided by the Senate, which represents a drastic 50% cut to the program, is inadequate to ensure that all 50 states have access to the services provided by the program.
  • E-mail addresses for your Representatives and Senators can be found posted in HandsNet at Resources/Congressional Contacts.
  • You can reach the White House by fax at 202-456-2883, and by e-mail at president@whitehouse.gov

4. HOPWA & McKinney Homeless Assistance Grants (HAGs) - currently funded until March 15 at the FY 96 conference level of $171.0 million (same as FY 95) for HOPWA and $823.0 million for HAGs.

  • Lack of full year funding for HUD is holding up the release of formula awards since these grants are funded on a year long cycle;
  • Providers cannot adequately plan housing programs, leaving clients with uncertainty about their ability to access safe housing, rental assistance, and support services available through the HOPWA program.

AIDS Action: Call your Congressional Members On HOPWA and McKinney HAG.

E-mail addresses for your Representatives and Senators can be found posted in HandsNet at Resources/Congressional Contacts.

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You can reach the White House by fax at 202-456-2883, and by e-mail at president@whitehouse.gov

  • Tell them to urge Rep. Lewis (R-CA) and Sen. Bond (R-MO) to provide the highest funding level possible for HOPWA and HAG through September 30, 1996
  • Call the White House at 202-456-1414 and tell President Clinton that he must make full year funding for HOPWA and McKinney HAGs his bottom line priorities in any negotiations on VA/HUD appropriations or a year-long CR for FY 96.

Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee - Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR)
202-224-3753

Chair, Senate Labor/HHS Subcommittee - Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA)
202-224-4254

Chair, Senate VA/HUD Appropriations Subcommittee - Senator Christopher Bond
(R-MO) 202-224-5721

Chair, House Appropriations Committee - Bob Livingston (R-LA)
202-225-3015

Chair, House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee - Representative John
Porter (R-IL)
202-225-4835

Chair, House VA/HUD Appropriations Subcommittee - Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
202-225-5861

The White House
202-456-1414

Capitol Switchboard
202-224-3121 Ask to be connected to your member's office.


For more information, contact
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300
202-986-1345 (fax)
202-332-9614 (tty)
E-Mail: aidsaction@aidsaction.org

Founded in 1984, AIDS Action Council is the only national organization devoted solely to shaping federal AIDS policy and legislation, and to advocating for increased AIDS funding. AIDS Action represents more than 1,000 community-based AIDS service organizations throughout the United States.



  
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.
 
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