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Funding for AIDS Programs in Final Stretch

Conference on FY 98 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill begin next week -- Contact your Members of Congress

September 18, 1997

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Both the full House and Senate passed their respective versions of the FY 98 Labor-HHS Appropriations bills that provide funding for AIDS prevention, care, training, and research. As we reported in our two prior ALERTS, there were no changes made to any of the funding levels for AIDS. However, the House did approve an amendment completely prohibiting the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs. The Senate did not include such an amendment (please see Sept. 11 ALERT.) In our last ALERT we mentioned a Coburn-Ackerman amendment to prohibit the use of federal funds for studies which include "blind" HIV testing was still pending consideration by the full House. Fortunately, the amendment was withdrawn and was not included in the House bill.

The next step in the process is conference. A joint House-Senate conference committee will meet to settle any differences between their respective Labor/HHS Appropriations bills and produce a final bill -- referred to as a conference report. In addition to the needle exchange provision, funding allocations in the bills vary drastically. For example, the Senate provided a $30 million increase for prevention while the House only provided an additional $5 million. For ADAP, the Senate provided a minimal $50 million increase in contrast to the $132 million increase provided by the House. The distribution of increases provided to the Titles of the Ryan White CARE Act dramatically differs as well. Conference provides an opportunity for you to contact your Members of Congress and tell them to fund AIDS programs at the highest level possible and to oppose the House needle exchange provision.

A list of conference committee members is provided below. If your Senator or Representative is on the list, it is especially important that you contact them. They will be making the final decisions on the needle exchange provision and on funding levels. If your Member of Congress is not on the committee, ask them to communicate their opposition to the needle exchange provision and their support for funding AIDS programs at the highest level possible to the Chair and Ranking Member of the conference committee.

AIDS Action -- Call/Fax your Senators and Representatives. Tell them to:

  • Support the highest funding levels (provided below) in the House and Senate appropriations bills for each of the AIDS programs and

  • Oppose the inclusion of the House needle exchange provision in the conference committee report on the FY '98 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill. If your Representative or Senator is on the list below, it is critical that you contact them. If they are not on the list, urge them to communicate their support to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the conference committee.

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Funding Levels:

Program highest increase Which bill
HIV/AIDS Research* +7.5% Senate bill
HIV Prevention +$30 million Senate bill
Ryan White CARE ACT:
Title I +$21.7 million House bill
Title II +$144 million House bill
Title III +$10 million Senate bill
Title IV +$9 million Senate bill
AETCs +$1 million Senate bill
Dental +$400,000 House bill


* the increase for AIDS research should be commensurate with the overall percent increase recommended for the NIH.


Conference committee roster:

House members:
John Porter (R-IL), Chairman: 225-4835
David Obey (D-WI), Ranking member: 225-3365
Robert Livingston: 225-3015
Bill Young (R-FL): 225-5961
Louis Stokes (D-OH): 225-7032
Henry Bonilla (R-TX): 225-4511
Steny Hoyer (D-MD): 225-4131
Ernest Istook (R-OK): 225-2132
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): 225-4965
Dan Miller (R-FL): 225-5015
Nita Lowey (D-NY) : 225-6506
Jay Dickey (R-AR): 225-3772
Rosa DeLauro (D-CT): 225-3661
Roger Wicker (R-MS): 225-4306
Anne Northrup (R-KY): 225-5401

Senate members:
Arlen Specter (R-PA) Chairman: 224-4254
Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ranking member: 224-3254
Ted Stevens (R-AK): 224-3004
Robert Byrd (D-WV): 224-3954
Thad Cochran (R-MS): 224-5054
Ernest Hollings (D-SC): 224-6121
Slade Gorton (R-WA): 224-3441
Daniel Inouye (D-HI): 224-3934
Christopher Bond (R-MO): 224-5721
Dale Bumpers: 224-4843
Judd Gregg (R-NH): 224-2752
Harry Reid (D-NV) : 224-3542
Lauch Faircloth (R-NC): 224-3154
Herb Kohl (D-WI): 224-5653
Larry Craig (R-ID): 224-2752
Patty Murray (D-WA): 224-2621
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX): 224-5922


MESSAGES/TALKING POINTS:

  • Now is not the time to retreat from our battle against the epidemic. We are just beginning to see real hope in improving the quality and length of life of people living with HIV/AIDS.

  • Funding increases are needed for all AIDS programs. Successfully attacking the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our nation requires a commitment to a full-scale approach, which includes funding for prevention, research, housing and care, including the AIDS Drug Assistance program.

  • The medical care, enabling social services, and health care professional training provided through the Ryan White CARE Act are critical to ensuring the success of any new drug therapies.

  • Absent a vaccine, our only hope of halting HIV transmission is through comprehensive, community-based, targeted HIV prevention programs funded by CDC.

  • A strong AIDS research effort, coordinated through the Office of AIDS Research, has led to the development of powerful new treatments for HIV and has made significant contributions to other biomedical research.

  • Science should drive policy, not politics. Syringe exchange programs reduce HIV transmission and do not increase injection drug use. Legislation limiting the ability of local agencies to operate syringe exchange programs presents a serious obstacle to containing the epidemic. The American Medical Association, American Bar Association, and the US Conference of Mayors all support these programs.


    AIDS Action Council
    1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 700
    Washington, DC 20009
    (202) 986-1300
    fax (202) 986-1345
    E-Mail: aidsaction@aidsaction.org

  • A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



      
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