Senate Appropriations Committee Approves HIV Funding

By jschneidewind on June 15, 2012 in Policy/Advocacy

by Bill McColl, Director of Political Affairs

In relatively short order this week, the Senate Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and on Financial Services and General Government passed their Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 bills followed quickly by votes at the Full Committee level.  The next step for the bills would be to go to a vote on the floor of the Senate and then on to conference with the House, steps that are unlikely to be taken prior to the November election.

The Labor, HHS bill is the appropriations bill that is the largest source of HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs. The Committee voted 16-14 to approve the bill which contained a significant increase for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) of $30 million.  The increase is actually $65 million over the original FY 2012 baseline and includes an extra $35 million directed towards ADAP that the President had announced on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2011.  The other Parts of the Ryan White Program remained level-funded.  The amounts designated for the Ryan White Program are as follows:

  • Part A (56 grants towards cities and surrounding areas) – $671.3 Million
  • Part B (States, Territories and the District) – $422.3 Million
  • Part B ADAP – $963.3 Million
  • Part C (Direct grants to HIV clinics) – $215.1 Million
  • Part D (Families, Youth and Children) – $77.2 Million
  • Part F (AIDS Education and Training Centers) – $34.5 Million
  • Part F (Dental) – $13.5 Million
  • Part F (Special Projects of National Significance – SPNS) – $25 Million

Part C’s funding is $10 million above the original FY 2012 baseline, accounting for 2/3 of an increase to that program announced by the President on World AIDS Day.  An additional $5 million that has been designated for Part C providers through the Community Health Center (CHC) program will need to be designated through that program again to maintain the same amount of actual funding.  The funding for Part D remained the same, despite a decrease of nearly $7 million in President Obama’s budget.

Funding for HIV prevention also appeared to be flat funded at a rate of $786.2 million although overall funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was up $55 million.  There was an increase of $2 million for

Prevention advocates were relieved that no funding was included for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which have been shown to be ineffective, and that $22 million in unspent Title V abstinence-only funding had been rescinded. Advocates expressed disappointment that the Committee failed to redirect the rescinded funding towards evidence-based pregnancy prevention efforts for foster care youth. The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI), which provides funding for programs that reduce teen pregnancy and related risk behaviors, was level-funded at $105 million. Thirty million dollars was provided for the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is level funding from FY 2012 but down $10 million from FY 2011.

The bill also returned language that would allow for federal funding for syringe exchange programs as long as a local public health or law enforcement authority does not object to a specific site. This language had been included in the FY 2009 and 2010 budgets but the overall bill for FY 2012 had restored the federal ban on the use of federal funds for syringe exchange programs. The restoration of the ban was a move strongly opposed by most HIV/AIDS, public health, harm reduction and viral hepatitis organizations. The 2013 Financial Services appropriations bill, which contains the budget for Washington D.C., also contained the restored syringe exchange language and specifically excluded Washington D.C. from its application, allowing the District to continue funding syringe exchange with its own local funding.

Other measures of interest in the Labor, HHS budget included an additional $100 million to the National Institutes of Health, although it was not clear if the additional funds would directly go to HIV research. The committee also agreed to increase funding by $547 million for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an increase that is expected to help with Affordable Care Act (health care reform) implementation issues. Community Health Centers (CHCs) received an increase of $300 million to their total budget as well (including mandatory funding in the health reform law)

The Social Innovation Fund, which provides match grant funding for AIDS United’s Access to Care program, was level-funded at $45 million for FY 2013. Funding for Americorps was set at 346.4 million. Although this amount is $2 million above FY 2012, it includes a disability grants program which had previously been separate so in reality this is also flat funding).

The Financial Services bill did not include the President’s proposed one percent transfer of domestic HIV/AIDS spending within the Department of Health and Human Services to support the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  Additionally, a $1.4 million set aside for the Office of National AIDS Policy (part of the White House Domestic Policy Council) was not included. Finally, the full committee also refused an amendment to defund IRS spending on the health care law, also in the Financial Services bill.

Click here to see the FY 13 appropriations for federal HIV/AIDS programs chart, produced by the AIDS Budget and Appropriations Coalition, which gives an overview of the above-mentioned numbers and is expected to be updated shortly.

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