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$365.8 Million In FY97 Funding Increases Approved For Federal AIDS Care, Prevention, Research Programs

Constituents rally, defeat HIV provisions in Immigration Reform bill

October 1, 1996

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 undocumented individuals.

"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:

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  • 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
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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