30 day reprieve for Ryan White funding renewal

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imageThe CAEAR Coaltion, a national HIV/AIDS advocacy organization, announced Friday that a U.S. House resolution will extend the deadline that threatens federal funds for AIDS services through the Ryan White Act.

“As the September 30 deadline for extending the Ryan White Program approaches, Congress is preparing to extend the program for 30 days through the FY 2010 Continuing Resolution (CR),” the group posted on its website. “The CR is a short-term vehicle that Congress uses to fund government programs and operations when it has not passed appropriations bills for the new fiscal year, which begins on October 1.”

Project Q reported last week that some $19 million in AIDS services in Atlanta alone are in jeopardy. The current version of the program funds $2.1 billion worth of HIV/AIDS service programs nation-wide.

“Ryan White is currently half of our budget,” Paul Plate, director of the Atlanta-based Positive Impact, said at the time.

“[The Ryan White portion of the budget] would equal about 300 clients receiving individual therapy, everyone who our Volunteer & Training Coordinator works with, plus several other programs,” Plate said. “All of our primary services are funded through Ryan White.”

Although the funds are safe from the original deadline to renew the program, advocates are still urging supporters to keep up an e-mail campaign urging Senators to pass its version of the bill to extend the program a third time since its inception in 1990.

Georgia’s U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson still haven’t come out in support of the Senate bill. Click on their names to send them an e-mail. Call Chambliss’ office at 202-224-3521, and Isakson’s office at 202-224-3643.

The U.S. House passed its version of a measure to continue the program. Atlanta Rep. John Lewis signed that bill.

Here is the latest news from CAEAR, and you can stay up to date on progress to secure the Ryan White renewal on their page devoted to the issue.

The CR that the House is scheduled to consider today will last for 30 days and includes language that will continue all Ryan White Programs without any changes for that 30-day period.

During this 30-day period, the House and Senate committees will continue to work on legislation for a long-term extension of the program, and we will continue to advocate the community consensus positions throughout this process. We will provide additional details as they become available.

We urge you to continue to stay in contact with both your House and Senate members. Our efforts have put the extension of Ryan White at the top of the agendas of the HELP and Energy and Commerce Committees; we must be prepared to sustain our advocacy until the extension is adopted.

The Ryan White Act, originally enacted in 1990 and twice extended, is named for an Indiana teenager (photo) who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion. The program was last reauthorized three years ago for $2.1 billion.

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