Measure still waiting action in the House
WASHINGTON Northeast lawmakers dropped their opposition Tuesday to renewal of the biggest federal AIDS funding program, ending a months-long standoff in the senate that pitted urban against rural areas.
The agreement by Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and fellow New York and New Jersey lawmakers came in the final days of the GOP-controlled Congress. They signed off on a pact that will soften cuts to their states but still free up money for rural states and the South.
The five-year renewal of the $2.1-billion-annual law had sparked a funding fight between cities where the disease first made its mark and the rural communities where it is now spreading fastest. The agreement was expected to be approved by the Senate this week before going back to the House for final passage, and then to President Bush for his signature.
“We stood our ground, and they gave ground, and we came up with a compromise that we can live with,” Clinton said.
Republican Sen. Mike Enzi, Senate Health Committee chairman, said the deal came after “months at the negotiating table trying to find an agreement that will ensure that Americans have access to lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatments regardless of race, gender or where they live.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, December 8, 2006.