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House Passes Syringe Exchange Amendment; Senate Passes Clean Labor/HHS Bill, FDA Reform Still Pending

September 11, 1997

Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations

Good News in the Senate: The Senate today passed its Labor/HHS appropriations bill (S. 1061). No changes were made to HIV/AIDS-related funding proposed by the Labor/HHS Appropriations Committee and no amendments that would adversely affect the HIV/AIDS community were offered.

Some Good News in the House: As reported in our last alert, four negative amendments directly affecting HIV/AIDS-related programs and funding were expected during floor debate of the House Labor/HHS appropriations bill (H.R. 2264). Of these, two have failed:

  1. The Coburn (R-OK)/Burr (R-NC) amendment to increase ADAP funding by cutting the funding of other accounts was defeated (282-141).

  2. The Souder (R-IN) amendment to transfer $5 million to the Ryan White AIDS Pediatric Demonstration program from Title X family planning was not offered -- Rep. Souder failed to introduce the provision at the correct time.

Not-So-Good News in the House: The Coburn-initiated amendment to repeal the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to allow federal funding for syringe exchange programs was offered today by Reps. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and was passed (266-158). Feel free to contact us if you would like to know how your representative voted. As there was no such provision in the Senate Labor/HHS appropriations bill, AIDS Action will be working to defeat this measure when the House and Senate meet in conference to hammer out differences in their bills. Once they have been appointed, we will let you know who the House and Senate conference committee members are, as well as what actions you can take to support the removal of this provision.

Yet to Come?: The Coburn/Ackerman (D-NY) amendment to prohibit federal funding of "blind" HIV testing of newborns has not yet been offered and we have reason to expect it may withdrawn. We'll keep you posted, but, until the amendment is dead, please continue to urge your representatives to oppose this measure.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reform in the Senate

Movement of the "FDA Modernization and Accountability Act of 1997" to the floor of the Senate slowed this week. It looks as if the earliest this bill will be taken up in debate will be next week -- perhaps Tuesday, but possibly later. The picture looks grim for defeat of this measure and the White House still has not voiced objections to its passage.

* * * AIDS Action * * *

Make certain your senators and the White House know how important a "no" vote on this FDA reform bill is to the health and safety of all Americans, including those living with HIV/AIDS.
  1. Contact your senators and the White House.

  2. Tell them to support reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), critical to the approval of new life-saving treatments, and to oppose other contentious and dangerous provisions in the FDA reform bill.

[Senate switchboard: (202) 224-3121; ask to be connected to your senator. White House comment line: (202) 456-1111.]

For further information, or to let us know how legislators and the Administration respond to your efforts, please contact Kurt Schade at (202) 986-1300, extension 3060 (e-mail:

For more information, contact:
AIDS Action
1875 Connecticut Ave., Suite 700
Washington, DC 20009
phone: (202) 986-1300, ext. 3060
fax: (202) 986-1345

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.
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