Conference on FY 98 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill begin next week -- Contact your Members of Congress
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was withdrawn and was not included in the House bill.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.
|Ryan White CARE ACT:
* the increase for AIDS research should be commensurate with the overall percent increase recommended for the NIH.
Conference committee roster:
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
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
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
AIDS Action Council
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