AIDS Action Opposes Ashcroft Nomination
AIDS Action calls John Ashcroft's record on HIV/AIDS "abysmal," and President-elect Bush's nomination of him for Attorney General "a threat to people living with HIV/AIDS and efforts to prevent the spread of the epidemic," according to an AIDS Action release. Newly named Executive Director Claudia French compared the appointment to "using gasoline to douse a forest fire," noting the former senator's "extremely narrow views of the gay community and the AIDS epidemic" and "profound insensitivity to the issue of drug abuse and its treatment." She added that she is "deeply troubled about whether ... he will actively enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act, an essential protection for people living with HIV/AIDS." AIDS Action noted that as senator, Ashcroft twice refused to
co-sponsor the Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization, a bill designed to improve access to and quality of health care for HIV-infected individuals; voted to cap fiscal year 2000 CARE Act funding at FY 1995 levels; voted against a $100 million fund for alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs; voted against a Medicaid safety net for HIV-infected people; and voted against HIV/AIDS funding for gay community health centers in 1995. In addition, Ashcroft voted against AIDS drug safety legislation in 1997; voted against the 1998 Surgeon General confirmation of Dr. David Satcher, who had previously led the development of AIDS prevention programs at the CDC; and voted to ban federal funding of needle-exchange programs in 1998. French concluded, "The AIDS epidemic is not going away and now is not the time to abandon the fight for a cure and the battle to prevent infection. As Attorney General, John Ashcroft would seriously undermine efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, accelerating the HIV infection rate and putting the health of all Americans in jeopardy" (AIDS Action release, 1/5). Senate confirmation hearings for Ashcroft begin today and will be Web cast live on kaisernetwork.org. To view the HealthCast, enter
http://www.kaisernetwork.org/healthcast/ashcroftjan2001 into your Web browser beginning at 1:30 p.m. EST.
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