As Congress Delays, AIDS Funding Hangs in the Balance
Calls Still Needed on Funding and Syringe Exchange Provision!
October 24, 1997
Congress and the Clinton administration have agreed to another continuing resolution (CR) that extends the deadline for completing remaining appropriations legislation to November 7. Until then, federal programs for which no FY 98 appropriations bills have been enacted will receive the same amount of funding appropriated to them for FY 97.
The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) FY 98 appropriations bill is STILL STUCK in the House and Senate conference committee!
As the conference committee members continue to debate funding levels for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and research programs, more calls are needed from your community to legislators to push through the highest possible funding levels for all programs needed to respond to the epidemic. Moreover, the House's provision banning federal funding of syringe exchange has not been removed and delays in the bill increase the danger that negative language supporting the ban will be included.
You should also contact Vice President Al Gore, who has voiced support for these programs in the past, support that may play an important role in his plans to run for presidential office. Ask him to "weigh in" in support of healthy funding for all HIV/AIDS programs and a repeal of the syringe exchange language.
* * * AIDS Action * * *1. Call your representative and senators! Urge the highest possible funding for all HIV/AIDS programs and removal of any language that codifies the ban on federal funding.
If your legislators are members of the conference committee, tell them to pass a conference report with healthy funding for all HIV/AIDS programs and to strike the House provision banning federal funding for syringe exchange programs.
If your legislators are NOT members of the conference committee, tell them to share the same message with the conference committee leadership. Representatives should contact Reps. John Porter (R-IL) and David Obey (D-WI); senators should contact Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA).
House switchboard: (202) 225-3121; Senate switchboard: (202) 224-3121. Ask to be connected.
Tell him to carry your message to the members of the conference committee. The administration must support the best possible funding for its HIV/AIDS programs and protect the authority of the Secretary of Health to consider federal funding of syringe exchange programs.
DON'T FORGET: Always take the opportunity, when contacting Gore's office to remind him that WE ARE STILL WAITING for the administration to report on AIDS Action's proposal to expanding access to Medicaid for all eligible people living with HIV. Gore signaled his support of this idea last April, but has remained silent since then.
Office of the Vice President: (202) 456-2326
For a list of conferees, funding levels, and talking points on the Labor/HHS appropriations bill, refer to the September 18 Network Alert or contact AIDS Action.
** HOPWA Update:**The Veterans Affairs/Housing and Urban Development (VA/HUD) FY 98 appropriations bill has been completed by Congress and awaits President Clinton's signature, which is expected. Two provisions have been added that affect the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program:
1. The Secretary of HUD may now make non-competitive grants of up to $250,000 to organizations to provide food services for homebound individuals living with AIDS. These grants will be funded through the non-formula portion of the overall HOPWA funding allocation.
2. For FY 98 only, grants of up to $300,000 may be awarded to a state that has lost its formula eligibility based on cumulative AIDS case load because a city within the state has now become eligible for formula funding on its own. In FY 98, the state of Wisconsin will be eligible for this new grant.
This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.