House Passes Spending Bill; Amendment To Block Removal Of Needle Exchange Funding Ban Defeated
The House on Friday passed a $730.5 billion bill (HR 3293) "to fund health, education and labor programs in fiscal 2010 after narrowly defeating an attempt to strip language that would lift the ban on federal needle exchange programs," in the U.S., CQ Today reports (Wolfe, 7/24). Lawmakers voted 211-218 to reject an amendment by Mark Souder (R-Ind.) that sought to keep the ban in place, the AP/Lewiston Sun Journal reports (Taylor, 7/25). The bill that passed includes a restriction against using federal funds for needle exchanges within 1,000 feet of day care centers, schools, parks, playgrounds, pools and youth centers, the Washington Post reports.
Ronald Johnson, deputy executive director of the Washington, D.C.,-based advocacy group AIDS Action, said, "This is the first time in over 20 years that we are on the verge of recognition by the federal government of the proven cost-effectiveness and impact of syringe exchange as a very important tool for prevention of HIV infection and viral hepatitis," adding, "Allowing the local community to use federal funds is very critical to stopping these epidemics" (Fears, 7/25). The bill also drops funding for abstinence-only sex education and "would provide $114 million for a new teenage pregnancy prevention initiative," the Sun Journal article states (7/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.