David Iliff, Wikipedia Commons
David Iliff, Wikipedia Commons
It’s an open secret that Congress has bigger priorities than re-authorizing federal funding for the nation-wide network of organizations that provide services to HIV-positive Americans. On the day when the Ryan White Act was originally set to expire, the Senate committee overseeing health care (including our own Al Franken!) finally got around to approving the re-authorization bill and passing it on to the full Senate for a vote. The House is still working on their version of the re-authorization legislation.

But don’t worry – funding for HIV/AIDS care and prevention funding is not about to dry up due to official procrastination. According to Amy Brugh, Public Policy Director of the Minnesota AIDS Project, both houses of Congress have passed what are called “Continuing Resolutions” that keep the money flowing until a final re-authorization bill can be passed and sent to the President.

“The reason for it coming down to the wire has nothing to do with politics or with HIV, but with the way Congress works,” Brugh told us earlier this week. A spokesperson from Rep. Betty McCollum’s office (D-MN) explained that, because of several issues including the health care reform debate, Congress has not yet had time to deal with the legislation. McCollum sits on the House’s Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and is a leader in Congress on HIV/AIDS issues.

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