Log Cabin Criticizes Small Group of Democrats Who Are Blocking Passage of HIV/AIDS Treatment Law
Senator Clinton and Five Other Democrats are Preventing Reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act
(Washington, DC) – Log Cabin calls on six Senate Democrats to allow reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act. "Failure to pass this law by October 1st will have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of people with HIV/AIDS," said Log Cabin Executive Vice President Patrick Sammon. "Senator Clinton and her five democratic colleagues should stop playing politics with this life-saving program."
Six Democratic Senators are using a procedural maneuver to block the CARE Act's reauthorization. The Senators blocking the bill include Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Mark Dayton, Sen. Bob Menendez, Sen. John Corzine and Sen. Barbara Boxer. "It's time for these Senators put the national interest above local special interests," said Sammon.
The Ryan White CARE Act is the principal federal program that provides assistance to Americans infected with HIV/AIDS. Senators and House members from both parties have developed a bipartisan compromise to update the program with reforms that reflect changes in the epidemic. There's near unanimous agreement that this bill should be passed. While the changes in the proposed bill will lead to small reductions in certain states, many other states with critical funding shortages will benefit from the new law. "In total, this bill is in the best interest of our nation and those suffering from HIV/AIDS," said Sammon. "Now is the time for action."
U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee said, "An agreement must be reached. If the bill is not reauthorized by September 30, several states including California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, and the District of Columbia would receive drastic reductions in funding and the program that people infected with HIV and AIDS rely on for drugs and other services will not be able to provide them with the treatment they desperately need."
Nearly all Senate Democrats agree this bill must be passed. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), the ranking member of the HELP committee with Sen. Enzi said in a statement on Tuesday, "There are few more urgent responsibilities for Congress this week than to pass this bipartisan legislation."
While Log Cabin supports reauthorization, we understand this isn't a perfect bill. During the appropriations process, lawmakers will need to provide at least a $55 million increase to the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP). "Flat funding ADAP will create additional stress on a program that is already stretched too thin," said Sammon.