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House VA/HUD Subcommittee Vote Leaves HOPWA with Flat Funding for FY 97

House Labor/HSS Subcommittee to Mark-Up Monday, June 10th Prevention, AETC, Consolidated Budget Especially Vulnerable

May 31, 1996

House VA/HUD Subcommittee Flat-Funds HOPWA:

Yesterday, the House VA/HUD Appropriations Subcommittee passed its FY 97 bill, which once again flat-funds HOPWA at $171 million. While the subcommittee had about $2 billion more overall for programs in its bill than it had in FY 96, most of the increases went to restoring funding for EPA, which was drastically cut in FY 96, and to increasing veterans' health care programs. The subcommittee did increase HUD's budget from $19.1 billion in FY 96 to $20 billion in FY 97, but the increases went to covering the cost of renewing section 8 rental assistance programs. While some programs like HOPWA, McKinney/HAG, and HOME were flat-funded, others were cut -- including CDBG, section 202 (housing for the elderly) and section 811 (housing for people with disabilities generally)

Next Steps:

The full House Appropriations Committee is tentatively scheduled to mark-up the FY 97 VA/HUD bill the week of June 10th, and the full House may vote on the bill shortly thereafter. We are exploring whether or not we can find sponsors to offer an amendment to increase FY 97 funding for HOPWA in the House bill, but even then we would need to find offsets from some other program -- an almost impossible task given how badly housing programs fared in general. Therefore, our best bet may be to wage a full-scale battle to get HOPWA funding increased in the Senate bill, and then fight to keep that increase when the bill goes to the conference committee.

Right now, we need to keep all our options open. Your representatives need to hear from you about the devastating effect flat-funding HOPWA in FY 97 will have in your communities. HOPWA is a formula grant program; with the addition of newly-qualifying jurisdictions, flat-funding equals cuts in funds to current grantees.

HOPWA Funding History

Fiscal Year 1995--
Number of Eligible Jurisdictions: 66
Federal Funding Amount: $171 million

Fiscal Year 1996--
Number of Eligible Jurisdictions: 77
Federal Funding Amount: $171 million (level funding)

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Fiscal Year 1997--
Number of Eligible Jurisdictions: 87-90 (estimated) Federal Funding Amount: $171 million (level funding)

House Labor/HHS Subcommittee -- Prevention, CARE, AETCs & Research:

The House Labor/HHS Subcommittee is now scheduled to mark-up (vote on) its FY 97 appropriations bill on Monday, June 10th. The bill may go to the full appropriations committee shortly thereafter. As reported in the 5/23/96 Action Alert, securing increased funding for Ryan White, HIV prevention, and the AIDS Education and Training Centers may be very difficult. We are particularly concerned about HIV prevention programs, which were cut by $5.5 million in FY 96. For FY 97, the limited pot of money available for L/HHS programs overall, combined with recent negative press about CDC's prevention programs, could result in additional cuts in prevention funding for FY 1997. Representatives need to hear from you about how important community-based prevention programs are to stemming the spread of HIV in your communities.

Similarly, funding for the AETC's was cut by $4.3 million in FY 96. This is the only federal program that provides training to health care providers on state-of-the-art care for people living with HIV/AIDS. This is especially important given new developments in drug therapies and treatments.

We can still save the OAR and the consolidated AIDS research budget. Last week, Rep. John Porter (R-IL), chair of the L/HHS appropriations subcommittee, who has opposed giving the OAR budget authority in the past, told constituents that he may be "reconsidering" his position. If the House of Representatives once again refuses to give OAR control over the AIDS research budget, our quest for more successful treatments for HIV disease, a cure for AIDS and a vaccine will be seriously harmed!

AIDS Action:

Call and Write Your Members of Congress in the House

  • Let them know you are disappointed with the VA/HUD subcommittee's decision to flat-fund HOPWA for FY 97. Tell them what this will mean in real terms in your own community. Without increases in HOPWA funding, people with HIV/AIDS will be living and dying on the streets of your city. Urge them to support increasing HOPWA funding for FY 97 to $250 million.

  • Tell them to urge Chairman Porter (R-IL) to: (A) support increases in prevention, care, training and research, and (B) support the Consolidated Budget for the Office of AIDS Research.

All members of the House can be reached through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. E-mail addresses for your Representatives can be found posted in HandsNet at Resources/Congressional Contacts. Or write

US House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

UPDATE:

Studds/Morella "Dear Colleague" Letters:

Thanks to your hard work, an impressive 102 members signed on to a "Dear Colleague" letter to House Labor/HHS Subcommittee Chairman John Porter (R-IL)! The letter communicates members support for increases for FY 97 in prevention, care, training and research. Additionally, 94 members signed on to a similar letter to VA/HUD Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) supporting increases in HOPWA! These letters are very impressive and make a huge difference in our work.


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



  
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.
 
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