AIDS United Adopts Position on Fiscal Policy

By jschneidewind on June 16, 2011 in Policy/Advocacy

by Ronald Johnson, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy

With the U. S. Treasury Department’s August 2 deadline for raising the federal debt limit looming like a Sword of Damocles over their heads, Congress and the White House are intensifying efforts to reach an agreement that would allow a debt limit increase bill to be passed.  There is near total recognition of the political reality that raising the federal debt limit will require an agreement to reduce significantly the federal deficit and long-term debt owed by the U.S. government.  However, there is little yet that approaches a broad consensus among Congressional Democrats, Congressional Republicans, and the President on how to reduce the federal deficit and the debt.

In a previous Policy Update, we noted why the current debate over federal fiscal policy matters to the HIV/AIDS community (click here to see the earlier article).  Those reasons have become only firmer in the subsequent weeks.  Real threats remain to the current structure of and funding for Medicaid and Medicare and to discretionary spending levels for health care, HIV/AIDS programs and services, and safety net programs for low-income and other vulnerable populations.  Some of the current proposals or ideas would result in cutting spending starting in FY 2012 back to levels that would necessitate devastating service cuts.  The 2012 fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2011.

Given that the important fiscal policy decisions made by Congress and the administration over the next seven weeks will have a huge impact on federal spending and on Medicaid and Medicare for the coming year and many years thereafter, AIDS United has adopted a policy position on the fiscal issues.

AIDS United recognizes that the size of the total federal deficit and the long-term debt owed by the United States together constitute a major problem that must be addressed.  AIDS United also recognizes that discretionary spending cuts will be a part of a final deficit reduction package.  AIDS United strongly rejects the concept that spending cuts should be the only component of a final deficit reduction package.  Therefore, AIDS United supports a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes revenue growth and does not disproportionately cut funding for health and social safety net programs, and does not drastically alter Medicaid and Medicare.  AIDS United will oppose vigorously any proposal that attempts to solve the deficit and debt crisis at the expense of people living with HIV/AIDS, low-income people, and other populations that already experience unjust health, social, and economic disparities.

AIDS United will work to keep you informed of the fiscal policy debates and to provide you with Action Alerts and other tools to engage you in the process.  Congress and the President need to hear from all of us that the fiscal policy decisions matter to us and that we will not be silent or complacent.

Click here for more background materials on the potential impact of fiscal policies.

Click here for a more detailed guide to the federal budget and the deficit.

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