The Senate FY 97 VA/HUD Appropriations bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate next week -- week of July 22nd. The Senate VA/HUD Appropriations bill, like the House, level-funded HOPWA at $171 million for FY 97. However, the Senate bill is in fact much worse! The HUD portion--which includes HOPWA-- of the Senate bill was funded at $202 million less than what the House bill provided. This means that there is a slim chance of increasing funding for HOPWA on the Senate floor because finding offsets (other accounts within the bill) for any additional funds for the program is virtually impossible.
Our only hope is to have the leadership of the Appropriations Committee find a way to increase funding for HOPWA when the bill goes before the full Senate for consideration.
- Call your Senators and the Administration. 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 funding for HOPWA be increased in FY 97. HOPWA must be funded at the Administration's amended request of $196 million -- a $25 million increase over FY 96.
- Urge the Administration to make funding for HOPWA at $196 million a priority and a veto issue.
- Remind them that without increased funding, jurisdictions will be unable to continue current housing programs, much less expand them to meet the growing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. In FY 97, as many as 10 additional jurisdictions will become eligible for HOPWA funding.
- Tell them that many people with HIV disease will die prematurely, because without a stable place to live they cannot access care services and life sustaining treatments.
Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations
The Senate Labor/HHS appropriations subcommittee plans to mark up its bill and set funding levels for AIDS prevention, care and research programs on Wednesday, July 24th. The Labor/HHS appropriations bill will most likely go to the full Appropriations committee late next week. Senate floor action on the bill is not expected until after Labor Day.
We expect the Senate to provide a significant increase for all biomedical research at the NIH and to include the consolidated AIDS research appropriation to the Office of AIDS Research (OAR). Although a total of 23 Senators signed on to the D'Amato/Feinstein "Dear Colleague" letter in support of increases in federal AIDS funding, we are concerned that the Senate will not provide increases for prevention and the Ryan White Care Act beyond those in the House bill.
- Contact your Senators (202-224-3121) and ask them to speak to Senators Specter, Hatfield and Harkin and tell them that the Senate must do better for AIDS programs than the House did and provide the following increases:
- a $134m increase for AIDS prevention programs at the CDC.
- a $349.4m increase for the Ryan White CARE Act.
- a $157.2m increase and a consolidated appropriation for AIDS research at NIH.
- Thank the following Senators for signing onto the D'Amato/Feinstein letter: Akaka, Boxer, Bingaman, Bradley, Cohen, Chafee, D'Amato, Dodd, Feinstein, Graham, Kerry, Lautenberg, Levin, Lieberman, Mosley-Braun, Moynihan, Murray, Robb, Simon, Snowe, Wellstone, Wyden.
You can also reach the White House by fax at 202-456-2883, and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget
National AIDS Policy Director
All Senators can be reached at 202-224-3121. E-mail addresses for your 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