House Spending Resolution Contains Provision That Eliminates Earmark Funding for Program To Expand HIV Services to Pregnant Women, Infants
The $463 billion spending resolution (HJ Res 20) for fiscal year 2007 passed last week by the House contains a provision that eliminates an earmark for funding within CDC's budget for a program aimed at supporting state-level efforts to provide HIV prevention, early diagnosis, and counseling services to pregnant women and infants, CongressDaily reports (Cohn, CongressDaily, 2/7). The House last week voted 286-140 to approve the spending resolution. The resolution allocates an additional $75.8 million in funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides care and services to people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., to bring total funding to $2.1 billion (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/1). According to CongressDaily, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) sponsored the program, which would allocate $30 million annually in grants for states to provide women and infants with HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, counseling and treatment. The program was included in the CARE Act reauthorization bill (HR 6143), which was signed by President Bush in December 2006, CongressDaily reports. To be eligible for the grants, states would have been required to implement policies providing voluntary HIV testing among pregnant women, clients at sexually transmitted infection clinics and substance abuse centers. States also would have to implement provisions for universal HIV testing among infants, CongressDaily reports. Democratic lawmakers said few states would qualify for the $30 million requested for the program. According to CongressDaily, Coburn on Thursday indicated in a letter to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that he would place a "hold" on the budget resolution. "Senators should not be denied the opportunity to debate and amend such a far-reaching bill that funds nearly all aspects of the federal government's domestic and foreign aid programs," Coburn said (CongressDaily, 2/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.