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Congress' "Attempt" To Re-Open Federal Government Leaves Ryan White, HOPWA Without Funding

January 7, 1996

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Urgent: Meet with Your Members During Recess

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a series of "continuing resolutions" Friday night which would "re-open" the federal government after the longest shutdown in our country's history. The President signed these resolutions into law on Saturday. Among the provisions contained in these continuing resolutions:

  • Funding to allow all federal workers to return to work until January 26th; providing back pay for those who had been furloughed.
  • Funding for the entire fiscal year -- through Sept. 30 1996 -- for all NIH and most CDC activities, including HIV prevention and surveillance grants. Funding for these programs is at the House-passed FY '96 appropriations levels. For NIH, this means a 5.7% increase overall, although negotiators still have to resolve other differences in the House and Senate versions of the FY '96 Labor/HHS appropriations bills, including whether OAR has budget authority.
  • Funding for the entire fiscal year for Medicaid and about a dozen other programs including Meals on Wheels, veteran's benefits, national park services, passport offices, and unemployment compensation.

Yet these continuing resolutions do not contain FY '96 funds for Ryan White or HOPWA:

  • No FY '96 Funds For Ryan White
  • No FY '96 Funds For HOPWA And Other Homeless Assistance Programs

The House and Senate Republican Leadership are planning to recess -- to go home -- until January 23rd, without doing anything to address the impact the halt in funding for these programs is going to have on thousands of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in this country. Here is what the failure to fund HOPWA and Ryan White really means:

HOPWA:

Because of the current political crisis, FY '96 HOPWA formula grants to seventy-seven cities and states are being held up. Jurisdictions cannot access any FY '96 housing money from HUD -- no HOPWA, no McKinney/HAG, no HOME, no Section 8 or 811. HUD cannot even tell jurisdictions trying to complete their "consolidated plan" for FY '96 HOPWA, CDBG, HOME and ESG funds how much money they will actually receive. All of this is on top of the hardships resulting from the FY '95 rescissions that cut FY '95 HOPWA grants by 8% across the board.

In FY '95, HOPWA funds served approximately 50,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. In FY '96, eleven more cities and states became eligible for HOPWA formula grants because of increasing caseloads and increasing need, yet four months into the fiscal year, thanks to our elected officials and their political posturing, NO money has been appropriated. People living with HIV/AIDS are facing homelessness and premature death as a result.

Ryan White Care Act:

The current federal shutdown and the possibility of an extended period in which funding is frozen for these programs will seriously impact the delivery of life-saving medical and support services provided through the Ryan White CARE Act to thousands of men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS across the country.

Title I formula grants to the 17 cities representing the bulk of HIV/AIDS cases in this country may not be disbursed on January 31st. Title II grantees will face serious funding shortfalls as early as February 1st. Title IIIB may experience cuts beginning March 1st.

And the Band Plays On...

Congressional Republican "Leaders" apparently believe that these continuing resolutions "fix" their image problem by funding a few "popular" federal programs and sending federal employees back to work (even if many of those employees cannot fulfill their duties if there is no money for their programs). We need to show the Republican leadership that they are wrong, and that they are willfully causing harm to people living with HIV/AIDS.

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Next week, the Congressional Democratic Leadership may hold hearings to expose the real effect the continued funding impasse is having on each of the federal agencies, including HHS and HUD, and the people served by the programs at those agencies. But many members of congress won't be here -- they'll be home, in your communities. Only you can force them to face the reality of what their political games are doing to people living with HIV/AIDS. Only you can hold them accountable.

AIDS Action:

  • Call your Senators and Representatives right away. Tell them you want them to see face to face the people who are suffering as a result of their political games and obvious indifference. Invite them to visit your agencies. Show them the impact they are having on your clients and the services you provide. Whether you provide a food bank, case management, day care, transportation, or housing. Tell them to take a stand and make FY '96 funding for Ryan White and HOPWA available immediately.
  • Document what is happening at the local level as a result of this funding crisis. Fax your stories to AIDS Action; tell us the details of how you are being impacted by this continuing political disgrace.

Note: The local (field office) phone numbers for your Senators and Representatives can be found in the blue pages of your local telephone directory. All members of the House can be reached through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121, and all Senators can be reached at 202-224-3121. E-mail addresses for your Representatives and Senators can be found posted in HandsNet at Resources/Congressional Contacts.


For more information, contact
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300 x 3042
202-986-1345 (fax)
202-332-9614 (tty)
E-Mail: aidsaction@aidsaction.org

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.
 
See Also
Purpose of the CARE Act
Guiding Principles for CARE Act Programs
More News on the Ryan White CARE Act
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