Congress Passes New Continuing Resolution; Ryan White, HOPWA And AIDS etc's Included in CR; President Clinton To Sign Department of Defense Authorization Bill -- Servicemembers Face Discharge
Congress has passed a new Continuing Resolution (H.R.2880) which extends FY 96 funding for Ryan White, HOPWA, and the AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETCs), among other programs, through March 15th. As a reminder, the current CR is set to expire at midnight tonight.
The new Continuing Resolution includes the following:
Programs funded under the VA-HUD; Commerce, State, and Justice Appropriations bills are set at the FY 96 funding level as agreed to in conference;
Programs funded under the Labor-HHS bill, which was passed by the House but not the Senate, and therefore not conferenced, are set at the lower of the House, Senate, or FY 1995 level;
Programs eliminated (for example AETCs) by either the House or Senate will be funded at 75% of the FY 95 funding level.
The president is expected to sign the CR before midnight, Friday, January 26th.
How This Continuing Resolution Affects AIDS Programs
Under the new CR, the Ryan White CARE Act will be funded through March 15th at the FY 95 level which was $633 million. This new CR does not include the $23 million increase that was proposed in the Senate version of the bill.
There continues to be confusion about what the CR means for funding for all titles of Ryan White (I,II, IIIB and IV) through March 15. AIDS Action will be convening a meeting with HRSA officials to demand a complete accounting of grants made to date under the CRs, and for an update of the status of funding for all grantees under all titles through March 15.
Please Note: While Congress has yet to complete reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act, the lack of reauthorization will not jeopardize funding for programs under the Crs. However, formula and other programmatic changes proposed in the reauthorization cannot be implemented without reauthorization.
AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETCs)
The AETCs, a program which was eliminated in the House Labor/HHS Appropriations Bill, will be funded through March 15th at 75% of FY 95 funding, or $12.2 million.
HOPWA & McKinney Homeless Assistance grants
The Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS Program (HOPWA) and the McKinney Homeless Assistance grants will be funded through March 15th at the FY 96 conference level of $171.0 million (same as FY 95) for HOPWA and $823.0 million for Homeless Assistance grants (HAGs). AIDS Action will meet with HUD officials to ascertain their plans for deciding how they will proceed to fund programs through March 15.
NIH AIDS Research Funding & the Embryo Research Ban
The status of budgetary authority for the Office of AIDS Research (OAR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) remains uncertain. While a previous CR provided full year funding for NIH and CDC programs through September 30, the new CR does not include AIDS research funding for specific institutes or the OAR. We are concerned that key house republicans, notably Rep. John Porter (R-IL) and Appropriations Chairman Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA) remain strongly opposed to providing specific line item funding and budget authority for the OAR.
Additionally, the new Continuing Resolution contains a ban on the use of NIH funds for embryo research. AIDS Action Council opposes this provision because of the detrimental consequences for AIDS research.
Demand once and for all that Congress provide full funding for all AIDS programs through September 30, 1996. Call your representatives and senators and tell them vital AIDS funding will be in jeopardy again on March 15th. As a representative from your district/state -- they must act swiftly to provide the resources to fight this epidemic and care for people living with HIV/AIDS, their families and caregivers throughout the fiscal year. Describe the impact of this funding crisis on AIDS programs in your community. Tell your representatives and senators the difficulty your agency is having providing a continuum of care as a result of uncertain funding. Tell them it is unacceptable to continue creating confusion and placing AIDS programs in jeopardy. Demand your members tell appropriators and the congressional leadership that the failure to resolve funding is devastating AIDS programs in their district and in their state.
All members of the House can be reached through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121, and all Senators can be reached at 202-224-3121. E-mail addresses for your Representatives and Senators can be found posted in HandsNet at Resources/Congressional Contacts.
HIV Positive Service Members Face Discharge
The US Congress has passed a revised version of the Department of Defense Authorization Bill (S.1134), which despite continued objections from the AIDS community, contains the Dornan provision requiring the immediate discharge of 1,150 service members with HIV infection. Worse still, the president has indicated that he will sign the bill.
AIDS Action denounces as shameful the actions of the congressional leadership by allowing such a discriminatory and un-American measure to become law. We also find it shameful that the Clinton administration failed to insist that the Dornan provision be stricken from the bill.
The Clinton Administration must ensure that these soon-to-be discharged service members are guaranteed access to the same medical care and disability compensation afforded to other service members retired for medical reasons. The president must also ensure that these soon-to-be discharged personnel are guaranteed future employment opportunities through re-training, or other gainful employment avenues as a result of his action.
Call President Clinton at 202-456-1414; demand that he stand by his previous objections and that he VETO the bill. Demand that he ensures these service personnel are guaranteed access to the same medical care and disability compensation afforded to other medically retired service members and guarantees of future employment opportunities, including re-training.
You can reach the White House by fax at 202-456-2883, and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, contact:
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009