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Senate committee
flat-funds most Ryan White programs

Senate committee
flat-funds most Ryan White programs

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies on Tuesday voted to flat-fund virtually all Ryan White programs in fiscal 2006, approving only a $10 million increase in spending for the nation's cash-strapped AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. The House version of the bill also contains only a $10 million increase for ADAP, a tiny fraction of what AIDS activists say is needed for the program.

Carl Schmid, director of federal affairs for the Florida-based AIDS Institute, says ADAP needs a funding increase of $300 million to treat all HIV-positive Americans who need drug assistance, but acknowledges that such an enormous funding increase is unlikely. His organization is instead urging Congress to boost ADAP spending by about $100 million over the current $787.5 million allocated to the drug assistance program.

"We are extremely disappointed in the Senate subcommittee's action," says AIDS Institute executive director Gene Copello of Tuesday's vote. "Just weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced there are now as many as 1.185 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, the Senate subcommittee decided to give the smallest increase ever to the program that our nation's poor rely on for their care and treatment. We call on every senator to stand up for reversing this situation as the full Senate Appropriations Committee and full Senate moves forward on the fiscal year 2006 budget. The time to act is now."

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