Amid Hope, Renewed Commitment Necessary on World AIDS Day
Log Cabin Calls on Congress to Reauthorize Ryan White CARE Act
(Washington, DC) – "As we commemorate World AIDS Day 25 years after the first AIDS diagnosis, there is much to be hopeful about, yet there is also much work remaining," said Log Cabin Executive Vice President Patrick Sammon. "Gains in research and advances by pharmaceutical companies have turned this disease into a manageable illness for millions. Unfortunately, this hope has still not reached the poorest and most vulnerable people."
"Log Cabin appreciates President Bush's commitment to addressing this global epidemic," said Sammon. "This president has committed more money than any other administration to the scourge of HIV/AIDS, but there is still a desperate need for a more honest and comprehensive prevention strategy at home and abroad."
"The federal government, along with many state and local governments, need to provide additional funding for testing, prevention, and treatment programs," said Sammon. "We're hopeful that President Bush and the new Congress will continue to confront this disease with the urgency it deserves."
Congress must reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act before adjourning the session. Four Democrats are blocking efforts to reform this program. 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," said Sammon. "While not a perfect bill, this legislation is in the best interest of our nation and those suffering from HIV/AIDS. The four Democratic Senators holding up reauthorization – Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) – should prepare to take responsibility for the people who will suffer if Congress fails to act."
"Reauthorization will be a slow process in the new Congress. In the meantime, many states will lose substantial amounts of money and needed reforms to this program won't happen. Blocking this legislation will cause real harm to real people," said Sammon. "The time for action is now."