Ryan White CARE Act Not Expected To Be Reauthorized Before Congress Adjourns This Month, Rep. Enzi, Sen. Kennedy Aides Say
Aides of Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and ranking Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy (Mass.) on Friday at a meeting with HIV/AIDS advocates said it is unlikely that legislators will reach a compromise to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act -- which provides funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the U.S. -- before Congress adjourns this month, CQ Today reports (Wayne, CQ Today, 12/1). Congress in September adjourned without the Senate passing a measure to reauthorize the CARE Act. Five senators, including those from New Jersey and New York state, blocked Senate consideration of a House-approved bill (HR 6143) sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) that would change CARE Act funding formulas so that rural areas experiencing increasing numbers of HIV/AIDS cases receive higher funding amounts, which would decrease funding allocated to urban areas. Some legislators from states with large urban areas -- including California, New Jersey and New York -- have opposed measures that would change CARE Act funding formulas, saying they could harm HIV/AIDS programs in areas with higher HIV prevalence (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/15). Enzi in November attempted to compromise with the four senators by offering a three-year reauthorization of the measure, rather than the five-year reauthorization that they previously had blocked, Senate aides said. Enzi said he thought the deal might be acceptable because New York and New Jersey would have experienced their "steepest financial loses" in HIV/AIDS funding in the last two years under the original CARE Act reauthorization proposal, CQ Today reports. However, the four senators rejected the deal because New York and New Jersey still would lose some funding, according to aides.
Next Steps, Comments
According to CQ Today, many federal HIV/AIDS programs will continue to operate regularly without a CARE Act reauthorization because Congress can appropriate money for the programs after they have expired (CQ Today, 12/1). In addition, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is co-sponsoring legislation introduced in September by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) that would extend for one year the current CARE Act funding formula (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/29). Enzi has rejected the proposed legislation, spokesperson Craig Orfield, said. "Unfortunately, time is running out," Enzi said in a Nov. 30 statement, adding, "I hope we can still agree to a compromise that reflects the changes we are seeing in the HIV/AIDS epidemic spreading across the country -- and that meets the needs of states facing the heaviest burdens fighting this epidemic." Damon Dozier, director of government relations and public policy for the National Minority AIDS Council, said, "I would like to think there would be a reauthorization, but I think a lot of things would have to happen exactly right" (CQ Today, 12/1).