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FY '96 Appropriations and More Remain Unresolved While Congress Out on Recess

March 29, 1996

FY '96 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (HR 3019)

The latest continuing resolution (CR) runs out at midnight tonight. While both chambers have reached agreement on program funding levels of Ryan White CARE Act, ADAP and AETC's and HOPWA (see chart below), Conferees still must resolve other non-spending issues before the bill can be brought to the Senate and House floors for a vote. Until then, programs will be funded by another temporary CR passed today by Congress. That CR will expire at midnight, April 24.

Proposed Funding Levels for FY'96 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Ryan White CARE Act:

Title I $379 million (+$23.0 million)
Title II $250 million (+$52.0 million-ADAP)
Title IV $26.5 million (+$ .5 million)
AETC $12.0 million (received an additional $6 million thanks to an amendment by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA)

HOPWA - $171 million.

OAR - A consolidated budget was not agreed upon.

Repeal of Discharge of Service Members with HIV

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Rep. Bill C.W. Young (R-FL) have proposed compromise language that would delay discharge of military personnel infected with HIV until January 1997. For now, Appropriations Chair, Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR) does not support the compromise and wants the House to support the immediate repeal. The Conference Committee vote has been postponed until 4/15.

ACTION: Tell your Senator & Representative to support the repeal of the discharge of HIV+ service members, particularly if they are members of the Appropriations Committee. The Young/Stevens compromise is no compromise for the men and women who have served this country.

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.

Ryan White Care Act Reauthorization

Conferees have met, but made little progress on this bill. The remaining items of contention are funding formulas for Titles I and II, and the Coburn amendment which requires mandatory HIV perinatal testing. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS), Bill Frist (R-TN) and Representative Tom Coburn (R-OH) will be meeting to try and reach agreement on the testing issue.

ACTION: Contact Ryan White Conferees and urge them to complete the reauthorization bill without a mandatory testing provision.

Sen Mark Hatfield (R-OR)
Labor/HHS Committee Staff:
Craig Higgins/Ellen Murray
phone: (202) 224-7230; fax: (202) 224-1360
Personal Office Staff:
Aaron Menikoff
phone: (202) 224-3753; fax: (202) 224-1229

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Labor/HHS Committee Staff:

Marcia Simon
phone: (202) 224-7288
Personal Office Staff:
Ann Ford
phone: (202) 224-3254; fax: (202) 224-9369
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)

Labor/HHS Committee Staff:
Craig Higgins/ Ellen Murray
phone: (202) 224-7230; fax: (202) 224-1360
Personal Office Staff:
Vickie Caldeira
phone: (202) 224-4254; fax: (202) 224-1229

Denial of Disability Benefits To Substance Abusers Attached To Debt Ceiling (HR 3136)

Congress passed a bill that raises the national debt ceiling. It was sent to the White House, where the President has indicated he will sign it into law. Included in this bill is a provision that excludes alcoholism and substance abuse as eligibility conditions for SSI benefits. This provision sets a dangerous precedent that does not recognize alcoholism/ substance abuse as disabilities.

ACTION: Assist your clients that receive their SSI benefits based on alcohol and/or substance abuse eligibility, to immediately apply for SSI under a different criteria (i.e., HIV or mental illness), so that their benefits will not be interrupted.

Congressional Recess (March 29 - April 14). Use this time to meet with your Congressional delegation.

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

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.
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