WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Clinton's signing last night of the $600 billion FY
'97 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations bill [H.R. 3610] marked more than just
final resolution to a budget process that last year resulted in a four-week
government shutdown. For Americans living with HIV and AIDS, the $365.8 million
increase in funding for federal AIDS care, prevention, and research programs
contained in the FY '97 catchall funding bill represents a decisive victory.
That victory was made even sweeter when AIDS advocates achieved an eleventh-hour
deletion of egregious provisions in the Immigration Reform bill [H.R. 2202]
- which had been folded into the onmnibus appropriations measure - that would
have denied publicly-funded HIV testing and care to legal immigrants and
"These funding increases will go a long way toward easing the burden on the
myriad AIDS programs in communities across the nation involved in the fight
against AIDS," said AIDS Action Interim Executive Director Fred Miller."By hard
work and perseverance, AIDS Action and our grassroots network of advocates
across the United States have helped secure the funding needed to enable
communities to respond to the AIDS epidemic on the local level."
Miller added that the funding increases achieved were made sweeter by the defeat
of the blatantly discriminatory HIV provisions in the Immigration Reform bill.
"It was a tough legislative season to the very end. Fortunately for the people
whom we represent, AIDS Action's efforts have paid off handsomely,"Miller said.
AIDS Action counts among its victories:Advertisement
- a $239 million increase for the Ryan White CARE program elevating FY '97 CARE
Act funding to $996.3 million. All CARE Act titles received increases in
funding for FY '97 including an increase of $115 million targeted exclusively
for the purchase of AIDS drugs through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).
Because of dramatic increases in the demand for new and promising combination
therapies, ADAP programs in many states have faced severe funding shortfalls.
The AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETCs)were funded at the FY '95 level
of $16.3 million, a significant achievement given that the program faced
potential elimination in FY '96.
- an increase of $93.9 million for AIDS research at the National Institutes of
Health (NIH), bringing total funding for AIDS research to just over $1.5
billion. Although AIDS advocates feared that Congress might eliminate the
consolidated budget authority of the Office of AIDS Research (OAR), compromise
language was developed to allow the Directors of the NIH and the OAR to
determine the level of AIDS research per institute in accordance with a formerly
agreed-upon AIDS research strategic plan.
- an increase of $32.9 million for HIV prevention programs at the Centers for
Disease Control (CDC) for a total of $617 million in FY '97. This increase is
targeted for previously unfunded prevention programs identified through the HIV
prevention community planning process. These programs could not be funded last
year as prevention programs were cut by $6 million.
- the deletion of provisions originally included in the Immigration Reform bill
of 1997 conference report [H.R. 2202] that would have denied legal immigrants
and undocumented persons access to publicly-funded HIV testing, care and
services. Provisions which would have rendered legal immigrants who utilize
more than 12 months of public assistance benefits deportable were also removed
from the final legislation.
The unprecedented accomplishments in the Omnibus Appropriations bill follow last
week's success in achieving increased funding for AIDS housing in the FY '97
VA/HUD Appropriations bill [H.R. 3666] which was passed and signed into law late
last week. AIDS Action's success in obtaining an additional $25 million for the
Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program for FY '97 was
remarkable given the extremely tight funding for HUD programs in the VA/HUD
appropriations bill. This increase will make a total of $196 million available
for FY '97. These additional funds will provide housing services to an
additional 6,700 people and families living with HIV and AIDS.
"We scored major victories this month that will benefit people living with AIDS
and those dedicated to providing them with life-extending care and services,"
Miller said. "We welcome the approach of the 105th Congress and hope to
continue to work to ensure adequately funded programs and a better quality of
life for those living with HIV and AIDS."
For more information, contact:
Contact: Kevin A. Mercuri
(202) 986-1300 ext. 3065
pager (202) 956-4010
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009