Late yesterday, the President signed into law a continuing resolution (CR) funding the federal government through March 4, 2011 largely at the same levels as appropriated for FY 2010, which ended on October 1. Republican political maneuvering in this jam-packed lame duck session prevented the Senate from even considering the House-passed omnibus appropriations bill, which contained important increases for HIV/AIDS programs and dedicated dollars for implementation the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. As a result, the Senate had to move forward with a short-term funding bill before a government shutdown occurred. While the CR does maintain the desperately-needed increases in HIV funding that Congress adopted in the FY 2010 appropriations bills, it fails to address many of the critical needs in HIV prevention, treatment and research – notably the underfunded AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) that provide critical HIV medicines to those that cannot afford them.
While Republican control of the House in the New Year will add significant challenges to getting more funding for these critical programs, we will continue to push Congress to use every possible resource to address HIV/AIDS, hate violence and other issues critical to the LGBT community.