AIDS Foundation of Chicago Calls for Passage of Health Appropriations Bill
The AIDS Foundation of Chicago has issued a press release urging House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to schedule a floor vote on the Labor-Health and Human Services appropriations bill, which funds HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts. The AFC "action alert" accuses "some members of the Republican leadership" of "grandstanding," and states that House Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-Texas) and "others" want to wait until a new administration takes office before passing any more spending bills. AFC says that the Labor-HHS bill funds not only HIV/AIDS services, but also biomedical research at the NIH, all CDC programs, the Congressional Black Caucus' Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative and all programs run by the Education and Labor Departments and HHS. The release states that on Oct. 30 congressional leaders and the Clinton administration reached an agreement on the "specific terms" of the Labor-HHS appropriations bill, which provided for "much needed" increases in funding for AIDS prevention, care and research programs. However, Republicans balked because the bill included a "labor provision" that contained new ergonomic rules for businesses. Since the administration subsequently issued the ergonomic regulations on its own, AFC argues that the provision has become "irrelevant," and that lawmakers should approve the Labor-HHS bill "as negotiated on Oct. 30." Hastert "has the power to stop the delay" and schedule a vote by the full House, a move that could prevent a possible government shutdown, the release states. AFC concludes, "Hastert's leadership could protect those education and health programs that are currently struggling to meet the needs of our country's most needy citizens" (AFC release, 12/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.