Senate Approves Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill, Includes Amendment Requiring Audits of AIDS Agencies
The Senate on Tuesday approved a FY 2002 $407 billion Labor-HHS appropriations bill that allocates $1.8 billion for Ryan White CARE Act AIDS programs, a $75 million increase over last year (Congressional Record, 11/6). The spending bill (SB 1536) includes an amendment (S. AMDT. 2063) that requires the HHS inspector general to conduct an audit of all federal money spent on HIV prevention programs and report to Congress any programs offering "sexually explicit workshops" with such funds. The amendment states that federal money should be used only to provide "resources, training, technical assistance and infrastructure to national, regional and community-based organizations" working on HIV/AIDS prevention (SB 1536 text, 11/8). The amendment language was "vastly improved" from its original form, according to a release from the National Association of People With AIDS, which called the original amendment an "attempt to restrict the content of prevention programs," especially those targeted at homosexuals. The first draft of the amendment, submitted and then withdrawn by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), included references to Associated Press reports of federal funds being used to conduct sexually explicit workshops for homosexuals, which included "erotic love stories" and instruction on how to use sex toys. The previous version also stated that federal money should not be used to "promote sexual activity and behavior and potentially transmit the disease that such funds were allocated to fight" (NAPWA release, 11/2). If the amendment remains in the final version of the bill, the audit is to begin no later than six months after the enactment of the budget (SB 1536 text, 11/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.