Log Cabin Warns Clinton: Government Shutdown will Cost Lives
Urges Cooperation with GOP Leadership to Pass FY 1999 AIDS Budget
(WASHINGTON, DC) – The nation's largest gay Republican organization warned
President Clinton today that if he engineers a government shutdown, as he
is reportedly considering, it may result in severe deficiencies and
disruptions in funding for crisis-ridden AIDS programs, especially those
providing life-sustaining drugs to people with AIDS across the nation.
Recent news reports out of Washington have alleged that the White House is mapping out a plan which would involve presidential vetoes of spending bills that would force the shutdown of the government, reportedly to distract public attention from the President's personal scandals, and restore his standing with the voters.
"The Republican Congress has passed some of the largest increases in AIDS treatment funding we've ever seen, well above the President's budget requests," said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "If the President shuts down the government, those increases will go down the drain leaving hundreds of thousands of people with AIDS in immediate danger. It would be unconscionable for the President, indeed it would be immoral, to make desperate political calculations on the backs of people with AIDS."
Congress is on the verge of increasing funding for the crisis-ridden AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) by $100 to $175 million. If the President shuts down the government, and these increases don't become law, the funding disruption could throw the state-administered program into a tailspin due to escalating demand for new life-saving HIV/AIDS drugs. A continuing resolution passed by Congress to keep the program running on 1998 levels will lead to rationing of services, lotteries or wholesale collapse of the program in some states.
"We urge the Administration to continue cooperating with the Congressional leadership to ensure the important business of the nation is tended to while the process related to the Independent Counsel's report to Congress moves forward," Tafel said. "If the President is to remain in office, he must have the moral courage to live up to his responsibilities. If he shuts down the government for his own political purposes, he will have abdicated that responsibility and will be further reinforcing the impression that he is no longer fit to serve. We strongly hope the President chooses the morally right course of action."
Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay Republican organization, with 50+ chapters nationwide, a full-time Washington office and a federal political action committee. Ensuring adequate funding for AIDS is one of Log Cabin Republicans' top legislative priorities.